Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

rulestheworld
11-26-2004, 01:59 AM
I'm writing a paper about this for a class. What does everyone think? I don't know if there have been other threads about this. If there have been, it would be much appreciated if you could direct me to them!

Here's what I think:
ESPN is obviously very biased towards American players (from exclusive coverage of Americans to bias from commentators). The producers have been confronted about this, but their argument is that American viewers are more likely to watch tennis if ESPN shows players the average American recognize (basically Andy Roddick, Serena Williams, and Andre Agassi along with a few others). But there seems to be a vicious cycle here. If ESPN only shows American players, the average American viewer will never be introduced to foreign players. So how can Americans become interested in other players?
The solution is for ESPN to break this cycle by showing intriguing matches, not just flashy Americans. Most of the tennis coverage is at odd hours anyway, so most likely, the people tuning in are REAL tennis fans, that want to see a variety of the top players. But ESPN refuses to do this.
The last thing I want to point out is that these flashy Americans often have the least interesting games. Roddick and Serena have a common strategy: hit the ball as hard as possible. This leads to very boring matches. With players like Federer and Henin, for example, there is a lot more great shot-making and athleticism. I think both the casual tennis fan and the hard-core tennis fanatic would rather see this than Roddick or Serena bludgeoning the ball.

Sorry if this is really long, but I really want to know what other people think about this topic.

Chloe le Bopper
11-26-2004, 02:00 AM
Yes, and I've been saying that for years :p

tennischick
11-26-2004, 02:07 AM
the problem IMO is not just ESPN but also the sponsors of these programs. the sponsors have products to sell -- and a product sells better when exposed to a larger market. let's say Nike decides to pick up the tab (or the bulk of it anyway) for the USO. they want to sell their products but they can't risk focusing on foreign faces when the audience/consumers are largely American and only familiar with Agassi, Duckboy, Serena et al. it's a vicious circle. but you can't blame ESPN for it all IMO.

Leena
11-26-2004, 02:09 AM
No, ESPN is not killing tennis in the U.S..

Simply, because they don't have to show as much tennis as they do. And if another channel bought it, there would be less hours shown... or if something like the Tennis Channel did, barely anyone would see it.

I agree that ESPN is alienating their fan base by only showing American players. But, that needs to change for the entire world. What does it matter what country a player is from? I don't care at all, and I don't know why others do.

liptea
11-26-2004, 02:40 AM
No, ESPN is not killing tennis in the U.S..

Simply, because they don't have to show as much tennis as they do. And if another channel bought it, there would be less hours shown... or if something like the Tennis Channel did, barely anyone would see it.

I agree that ESPN is alienating their fan base by only showing American players. But, that needs to change for the entire world. What does it matter what country a player is from? I don't care at all, and I don't know why others do.

Most true fans don't. But in terms of attracting the casual American fan, I don't think they're killing it. The way to attract that fan is by introducing them to someone like ANdy Roddick and Serena Williams and yelling in their face, "LOOK, THEY'RE AMERICAN!!! ROOT FOR THEM!! TUNE IN AND WATCH THEM!!!" And marketing them as much as possible, shoving them in front of cameras and in magazines and articles, putting them everywhere. By tuning into watch these players, more people will start noticing other players, like Federer, Moya, Safin...at least they're marketing someone. As long as tennis gets some attention in America, it's not horrible.

On a random note, I converted a gay guy to Moyaism.

Billabong
11-26-2004, 02:58 AM
very possible;)

buddyholly
11-26-2004, 03:11 AM
No, just the reverse, tennis would probably be dead without ESPN. As if you know more about what the average viewer wants to see than ESPN does. What you are pissed about is that ESPN does not tailor its programmes to suit your taste. Well, too bad, ESPN is not on the air for your benefit alone.
Without ESPN all we would have are a few grand slam finals with Bud Collins running around in funny clothes, and lots of pre-filmed little pieces about various players, all getting in the way of actual tennis.
I can not imagine what class you are writing this paper for, but think you should have an F, just for the stupid title.

buddyholly
11-26-2004, 03:16 AM
Oh, I should have added, ESPN is airing the Davis Cup Final and guess what? - half the players they will show will be American!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somebody should complain about that.

Leena
11-26-2004, 03:18 AM
I don't understand why tennis can't be shown more like golf is.

You don't see any less of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, etc... just because they're not American. Golf also has a heavy country competition in the Ryder Cup, so there'd be reason for it. Nobody in the US cares about Davis Cup, and nobody besides Russia cares about Fed Cup.

It's not just with Americans, either... for example, USA's coverage of Srichaphan the last few years. Yes, he's a rare player from Thailand. It's a good thing that a tennis player comes from there. But, I really don't care. And, I don't see how the average fan will want to watch tennis more just because of where the players come from. Just show the sport, show the players, and good things will happen.

Hendu
11-26-2004, 03:24 AM
Oh, I should have added, ESPN is airing the Davis Cup Final and guess what? - half the players they will show will be American!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somebody should complain about that.

:scratch: :unsure:

Tennis Fool
11-26-2004, 04:10 AM
No, what's killing tennis is tennis. It's not violent enough. When are we going to see Hewitt throw blows at Roddick, then go after a fan when he's hit in the head with a water bottle (ie referencing last week's now infamous Pacers/Pistons game.)

There no hard foul in tennis, no sacking of the server, no blows to the head with a racquet. Plus, I truly believe that the younger generation thinks of tennis as a "gay" sport.

I don't know if it will ever revive it's popularity of the 1970s, unless we get James Blake and some new American faces to take over the top 5 spots. Roddick is too bland and not enough of a match for Roger.

Tennis Fool
11-26-2004, 04:13 AM
I don't understand why tennis can't be shown more like golf is.

You don't see any less of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, etc... just because they're not American. Golf also has a heavy country competition in the Ryder Cup, so there'd be reason for it. Nobody in the US cares about Davis Cup, and nobody besides Russia cares about Fed Cup.

It's not just with Americans, either... for example, USA's coverage of Srichaphan the last few years. Yes, he's a rare player from Thailand. It's a good thing that a tennis player comes from there. But, I really don't care. And, I don't see how the average fan will want to watch tennis more just because of where the players come from. Just show the sport, show the players, and good things will happen.
Actually I read recently that golf's numbers have been declining even when Tiger was at the pillar of the sport. It's been rough with these faceless winners over the past two years.

Golf has been popular on tv because the Network executives can play it without being booed off the grounds :D

liptea
11-26-2004, 04:50 AM
Oh, I should have added, ESPN is airing the Davis Cup Final and guess what? - half the players they will show will be American!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somebody should complain about that.
When is that coming on? I can't see it on their website.

liptea
11-26-2004, 04:53 AM
No, what's killing tennis is tennis. It's not violent enough. When are we going to see Hewitt throw blows at Roddick, then go after a fan when he's hit in the head with a water bottle (ie referencing last week's now infamous Pacers/Pistons game.)

There no hard foul in tennis, no sacking of the server, no blows to the head with a racquet. Plus, I truly believe that the younger generation thinks of tennis as a "gay" sport.

I don't know if it will ever revive it's popularity of the 1970s, unless we get James Blake and some new American faces to take over the top 5 spots. Roddick is too bland and not enough of a match for Roger.

Tennis would be funny if we removed all restrictions on behavior.

buddyholly
11-26-2004, 12:35 PM
When is that coming on? I can't see it on their website.

I went to TV listings at ESPN.com for 3-5 of December. It does not appear to be live, but never mind, just stay away from MTF for a couple of hours and it will seem like live. The doubles on Saturday is on ESPN2.
But ESPNdeportes does not seem to be covering it, so I have already bought a ticket to Miami for that weekend.

Stensland
11-26-2004, 12:52 PM
i don't think it's that big of a deal...quite obviously most americans support their own players, what's wrong with that? i'm from germany, we don't have something like the tennis channel but a few others, and, of course, at the AO or RG they switch the courts when a german player is gonna play somewhere else. in our case, who wants to watch vince spadea vs. sargsian, when tommy (haas) is facing someone like gonzalez or srichaphan...?! that's normal, nothin' wrong with that.
does anyone actually know if there's a chance to receive the tennis channel overseas? i know some brazilians living down the street who get their home channels via satellite, so to that effect there must be some way...

thx...

TheBoiledEgg
11-26-2004, 01:54 PM
What they need to do is to show the Full days play LIVE every day for the tourn

that way u'll get to see others
thats what we get on Sky Sports :yeah: :D

buddyholly
11-26-2004, 02:53 PM
Sorry if this is really long, but I really want to know what other people think about this topic.

If you really want to know how people think, sending a message to someone who bothers to give you an opinion and calling them a jerk is hardly the way to encourage dialogue. Do it in public please.
Thank you for the bad rep I got for taking the time to send you my opinion, which you requested.
You did not make it clear that you only wanted to hear opinions that confirmed how right you are.

Horatio Caine
11-26-2004, 02:58 PM
Anything with Patrick McEnroe on it is officially DEAD.

onewoman74
11-26-2004, 03:05 PM
To watch tennis on ESPN is disheartning. I cannot stand how tennis is covered on ESPN. If ESPN can try to emulate USA and CBS coverage of Grand Slams maybe it would make a difference. Those channels showed how you can cover a Grand Slam. They didn't just cover American players, but showed plenty of international players.

We'll see in 05' if ESPN makes any changes. I highly doubt it, but they could take a page from USA an CBS.

rulestheworld
11-26-2004, 03:35 PM
If you really want to know how people think, sending a message to someone who bothers to give you an opinion and calling them a jerk is hardly the way to encourage dialogue. Do it in public please.
Thank you for the bad rep I got for taking the time to send you my opinion, which you requested.
You did not make it clear that you only wanted to hear opinions that confirmed how right you are.

Look, I don't have a problem with you disagreeing. In fact, I appreciate that there are people who can give me different opinions. But they (Leena., liptea, and Tennis Fool), did it without insulting me.

I can not imagine what class you are writing this paper for, but think you should have an F, just for the stupid title.

You're the one who has a problem with people who have different opinions than you.

I only posted this because you wanted me to call you a jerk in public. Send me a private message if you want to fight about this. Otherwise, please only comment on the topic of the thread.

-ernie-
11-26-2004, 03:51 PM
Hey i think the ESPN has been better this year, how about that US OPEN SERIES GOSH!

jmp
11-26-2004, 04:07 PM
Originally posted by liptea
When is that coming on? I can't see it on their website.

This is the schedule for the US:

"Davis Cup, Final Round: United States vs. Spain"
ESPN, Fri Dec 03 12:00pm EST

"Davis Cup, Final Round: United States vs. Spain"
ESPN2, Sat Dec 04 07:00pm EST

"Davis Cup, Final Round: United States vs. Spain"
ESPN, Sun Dec 05 03:00pm EST

Originally posted by Rrrainer
does anyone actually know if there's a chance to receive the tennis channel overseas?

I don't know. Try the website at thetennischannel.com for information on international distribution.

jmp
11-26-2004, 04:30 PM
"Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?"

My answer is no. I have enjoyed the tennis coverage this year much more than in the past few years. Because of the increased number of hours, the injuries, and the fact that the top players are not heavily American, ESPN has been forced to show a greater variety of players.

ESPN is a business. I think that tennis needs to push it's own popularity in order for ESPN to continue to invest hours of coverage into it. With team sports, they can get more stars into a block of coverage than they can with one three to five hour tennis match. I'll sit through every shot. But, there are people on this board who won't/can't sit through an entire match. The casual fan isn't likely to, either.

I would like to see tennis organizations like the ITF, ATP, and WTA, invest in promotions similar to PSAs (Public Service Announcements) you see for talking to your children about drugs, the dairy commission, etc. The USTA did a few spots like this during the US Open. But, I think it should be sprinkled throughout the whole year on MTV, and popular shows like reality shows. They should be short, flashy, and sexy. They can ask the top players to donate their time or just use attractive models. But, the subliminal message should be that tennis is hot. It needs to become more visible in pop culture.

This is longer than I expected. But, I hope you got some good input for your paper. :)

Dokicfan
11-26-2004, 10:20 PM
I agree with most the first post except that I love power tennis and I dont think its boring at all. I think most people like power tennis a lot.

-ernie-
11-27-2004, 02:00 AM
I like power tennis too, but i enjoyed watching the amazing finnesse of the game that is now gone.

Chloe le Bopper
11-27-2004, 02:32 AM
I agree with most the first post except that I love power tennis and I dont think its boring at all. I think most people like power tennis a lot.

Me thinks that Dokicfan is correct. I myself don't enjoy seeing strictly wham-bam-thank-you-'mam tennis ala Roddick or Pim Pim (among many other people), but I have noticed that when I watch with my friends who don't usually watch tennis, they favour the more powerful "in your face" type of player.

For example, I was watching Grosjean vs Roddick in Miami a couple years ago. My roomate comes in and asks who I'm rooting for. I say "Grosjean, he as a much nicer game" (note: "nicer" doesn't mean "more effective"). She watched for all of one game before disagreeing and saying "I like the other guy better, he's so powerful and impressive".

I'm sure that there are hardcore fans who feel this way as well, I'm not just trying to say that it's people who don't know very much about tennis do. That was just the only example I have since I don't live with people who know tennis :p

Leena
11-27-2004, 02:35 AM
I much prefer power tennis... since I'm an all-serve stiff myself.

But, I can respect the dirtballers.

My favorite male players are Marat Safin, Ivo Karlovic and Thomas Muster.

federer express
11-27-2004, 03:02 AM
I much prefer power tennis... since I'm an all-serve stiff myself.

But, I can respect the dirtballers.

My favorite male players are Marat Safin, Ivo Karlovic and Thomas Muster.safin definitely. not sure about the others. i liked muster's fight though :)