Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Tennis fans were outraged today when they turned on NBC to watch Maria Sharapova take on Sabine Lisicki in the ladies’ semifinal Wimbledon, and discovered there was no sports to be found.Turning over to ESPN2 (which has also been broadcasting matches from the All-England club for the last two weeks) didn’t help either. They were a showing a re-run of Roger Federer’s match from yesterday.
Online streaming? No dice. Blackout there too.
Was the match canceled? Nope, it’s just ended. (Maria won in straight sets.) But NBC wants to wait and show you the match this after, long after it’s already ended. (Instead they showed, the fourth hour of Today and re-run of Ellen.)
Yes, those of you driven mad by the Peacock network’s Olympics coverage in 2010 (and always) are well aware of NBC’s policy of showing games when THEY want you to see them, not when actually happen. (Their Wimbledon broadcast window was 1-5 p.m. ET today and it seems they called dibs on Sharapova’s match. So ESPN2 was off limits.)
Of course, by the time it appears on TV later today, the world will already know who won.
One of the concerns after NBC retained the Olympic TV rights for the next 10 years, was a repeat of Vancouver 2010, when angry sports fans were denied the chance to watch dozens of live events, even as they followed the outcomes online.
The new Comcast bosses have promised to show every single event live, somewhere – either online or on cable – but this tennis snafu is not a good omen for the future.
For the record, NBC tells tennis reporter Tom Perrotta that the first men’s semi-final on Friday will be on ESPN and the second (between Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) will be on NBC. Both will (allegedly) be live.
UPDATE: We got an important clarification on the men’s matches on Friday. NBC’s television coverage begins at noon in each time zone, and they will show the full matches in their entirety, no matter where you are. (That may mean tape delay in Western time zones.)
However, the NBC broadcast window opens at noon ET, so from that point on you stream matches live on NBCSports.com. Not the best option, but since you’re probably watching at work anyway, it may not matter.
ESPN will broadcast the first match live at 8:15 ET. Their broadcast window ends at 12:00 p.m.
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