Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ESPN Makes It Official And Announces Its Taking Over Wimbledon Coverage

ESPN announced today that it will be taking over for 100% of the Wimbledon coverage, effective in 2012.  Previously, ESPN had shown some of the earlier round action, with semi-final and final matches being shown on NBC.

I have loved the tradition and the classy way that NBC presents its "Breakfast at Wimbledon" coverage, but what annoys me is how they tape delay the semi-final matches to show later.

It didn't seem as if the tape-delay issue played any role in Wimbledon deciding to go with ESPN full-time; it was simply a matter of ESPN outbidding NBC.

This seems to be a part of a movement to acquire more top-level sporting events.  Later this year, ESPN will begin broadcasting the Bowl Championship series, which I think is a major step in enhancing quality coverage of these bowl games.  Fox didn't have the college football analysts to plug into these games.

ESPN has also been showing European Premier League and Major League Soccer games this year, and with this has been cultivating a more international market.  It also doesn't hurt to give American sports fans a more international perspective.

ESPN won't have much to compete with the Wimbledon coverage during June/July.  The only other major event happening is the College World Series, and those games would be broadcast later in the day after evening falls in England.

Ultimately, this is a good move by ESPN, which seems to be finally maturing into what it was always supposed to be: THE place to watch sports.

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