Delayed reaction--Great article on ESPN! -
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-04-2004, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 345
Delayed reaction--Great article on ESPN!

Delayed reaction
Kristin Morse,

Let me start by saying I'll generally do anything to avoid an argument. Few things make me mad enough to take a stand, at least a public one anyway. Until now.

Have you been watching ESPN's coverage of the French Open? Note that I didn't ask if you have been watching the live coverage. Sure, the network has given us some live-action nuggets here and there, but we've been subjected to a lot of tape-delayed nonsense. And, based on the number of letters that's tennis writer Jon Wertheim has received, I know I'm not the only one who's worked up. (Word is even the commentators are annoyed by the program scheduling.) The coverage has been absurd.

Note to ESPN: If you wish to be the Grand Slam network, please act like it. Tennis fans want to see lots of tennis, and we want to see it live. You've dedicated five to six hours a day, five days a week to the French Open; why haven't you used that time wisely? One airing of the second-round Serena Williams-Maria Kirilenko match was enough. (Although we're sure Kirilenko scored high on the Q ratings, tennis fans would prefer to watch more matches, rather than repeats. Go figure.)

In the interest of journalistic integrity and fairness, I called to ESPN to find out how the network defends its programming. "It's an art, not a science," said spokesman Dave Nagle. "There is a little science, and that's ratings. We originally had scheduled 88 hours of coverage and increased that by 11 ? hours.

"The hard-core tennis aficionados have different tastes than the casual fans. And if we want to grow the sport we need to bring in as many new viewers as possible."

This may come as a shock, but Tuesday's Serena-Jennifer Capriati quarterfinal match did not actually start at 9 p.m. in France, as ESPN wanted us to believe. It actually started at 1 p.m. in Paris (7 a.m. EDT) and finished more than six hours before it aired on ESPN at 3 p.m. EDT. I'm sure there were some people who didn't know the result before the tape-delayed showing, and I'm willing to bet those people all live under one medium-sized rock in the Sahara Desert.

To make matters worse, ESPN2 then replayed that -- let's be honest, here -- mediocre JCap-Serena match the next day rather than run live coverage of Gustavo Kuerten vs. David Nalbandian, which was saved for big brother ESPN at 1 p.m. Sure, the women's match may have had more cache for an American audience, but that begs the question: Why not show it live in the first place?

"The match started before we went on air," said Nagle. "And we wanted to show it in its entirety when more people could see it."

The problem with that is, in the age of 24-hour news programs and Internet overload, you have to work really hard to keep from finding out the outcome of a sporting event. My job doesn't allow me the luxury of turning off all modes of communication, burying my head and patiently waiting for the tape-delayed coverage of a tennis match in Paris. I obviously don't work in TV, and I certainly don't claim to know the least bit about television programming, but I know I like to see big matches live.

Even as I rant, I sympathize with ESPN. The early losses of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and eight other American men must have created an Excedrin-level headache in Bristol, Conn. No doubt the semifinal between Paola Suarez and Elena Dementieva is not exactly the dream matchup the network probably envisio0ned when it signed on to cover the French Open. (I won't even mention the pairing of Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina in the final.) God knows a Williams sisters semifinal showdown coulda, shoulda, woulda been great; alas, it wasn't meant to be. And I understand that the Argentine drama of David Nalbandian versus Gaston Gaudio may not play well in Peoria, but that's sports. It doesn't always pan out the way you plan it -- if it did, we would all win our NCAA basketball office pool every year. When you have two channels (ESPN and the Deuce) dedicated to French Open programming, it is ridiculous that tennis fans are subjected to tape delay and, even worse, match replays.

While I'm on a roll, another question that has perplexed me throughout the tournament: Who designed the score box in the upper left-hand corner of the screen? It is unreadable. In fact, a colleague described it as "the worst graphic in sports history." OK, that may be a bit strong, but it is definitely difficult -- if not impossible -- to decipher. It seems like it should be easy to come up with a graphic that clearly shows the score of a match. A rather vital statistic, I would argue.

Phew. Maybe this ranting stuff is healthy after all. I haven't said anything ESPN hasn't heard a thousand times before, but I felt compelled to say my piece and be the voice of the hundreds of letter writers we've heard from, including some who used descriptions like "morons" and phrases such as "ruined this tournament for me." We didn't want to take it to that extreme, we just wanted to let ESPN know there are tennis fans out there who enjoy the game -- not only when it is played by Americans and/or six-foot tall blondes. But, even more important, we like watching matches when we don't know who wins. Fancy that.

Updated on Thursday, Jun 3, 2004 5:38 pm EDT
tennisIlove09 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-04-2004, 01:36 AM
Ballbuster's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: houston Texas
Posts: 995
Re: Delayed reaction--Great article on ESPN!

Kristin Morse is write on!!!!!
Its good to see someone in the media that's sober for once, unlike those idiots at ESPN who pour gin in their wine glasses and go "oh, let's increase ratings by showing boringass taped matches that no one likes."
Ballbuster is offline  
post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-04-2004, 02:59 AM
Registered User
Clara Bow's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: A US state that was once its own country.
Posts: 4,978
Re: Delayed reaction--Great article on ESPN!

Yea! Finally someone in the American media (beside the ever faithful JW) who is calling ESPN on their craptacular coverage,

One of us! One of us!
Clara Bow is offline  
post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-04-2004, 05:02 AM
Registered User
Lalitha's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: India
Posts: 4,494
Re: Delayed reaction--Great article on ESPN!

I'm not from US, but I read that ESPN replayed the Serena-Capriati match again and again instead of showing the mens QF's. Too bad.

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Lalitha is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome