View Full Version : ESPN: Will they take the high road or the low road?

03-11-2004, 08:11 PM
Im wondering who ESPN will televise more this week: the absolute best player in the world, or the best (make that "highest ranked") American in the world.

No doubt they will take the low road, as always, but this is a test of ESPN's character IMO.

03-11-2004, 08:16 PM
So long as the same people are in charge, I wouldn't bet my money that they will take the high road.

03-11-2004, 08:22 PM
As long as they're still a business, they would be stupid to take any road but the most profitable.

Camilio Pascual
03-12-2004, 03:22 AM
I think they will the match they believe most people want to see, probably the American and not the highest ranked player. I totally disagree with you that this is a "test of character." Who are we to squander ESPN's profits and deny the people what they want? Perhaps not being, er, resentful, when the will of the majority supercedes one's own desires is a "test of character?"

03-12-2004, 06:41 AM
Guys, let's just be thankful that we are going to get to see a lot of tennis on t.v. These Master's Series events are so full of great players that even if espn showed only Roddick's matches from round 1 on, we would still get to see a ton of good players. Roddick and Safin are set to meet in the 3rd round. I would imagine that safin will once again expose the weaknesses in the roddick game (backhand rallies, and return of serve) then espn will be forced to focus on other players.

03-12-2004, 07:34 AM
I think that many posters miss the entire point of this type of debate about ESPN's coverage. Yes, we all understand that they are a business and that they are out to make the most profit by securing the most viewership and endorsement dollars. However, many of us feel that ESPN is going about it in the wrong manner. By only showing American players, or established stars, they are forsaking the future and the present, for the past. Any good businessman will tell you that to succeed, you have to constantly improve the quality of your product and build for the future. The casual tennis fan is their target, obviously, and all they see are the same players all the time. Then, when they turn on the tv for a final and see two people that ESPN hasn't shown them, or talked enough about, they just turn off the set. Where is the good business in that? ESPN is banking on Andre or Andy, or Jennifer, Venus, Serena, Lindsay, or Monica to make the finals of every tournament, but we all know that it is just not possible (especially on the men's side).

What they should be doing is showing more coverage of players that have huge potential, are making noise at other tournaments, and are on the rise. This way, when Rafael Nadal plays Joachim Johansson in the finals of a tournament, the casual fan won't say "What no Andre, no Andy? What else is on?" This was a case in point last week with Vince Spadea vs. Nicolas Kiefer. I bet that ESPN's numbers were horrible for this match, because Andy lost to Vince in the semi's, and didn't make the final. I am also willing to bet that these ESPN morons were actually considering replaying that semifinal instead of showing the live coverage of the final.

My point of all this is that the game of tennis will never grow or gain in popularity in the United States, if the people that air the sport don't make a conscious effort to show all of the major players, not just the Americans. Showing live tennis instead of replays should be a no-brainer, but obviously these guys are only concerned with today and not the future, and in many cases they seem to be more concerned with the opening rounds rather than the finals. I have news for them, even the casual fan would rather see a match for the championship that is for high stakes, than a first round romp.

03-12-2004, 08:48 AM
ESPN has dedicated an incredible amount of hours for the tourney. If any poster disagrees with their coverage and highlighting American players-well either they didn't live during the pre ESPN coverage nor have they been to France/England to view the French-Wimbledon Slams on the tele. Hell my buddy just returned from watching the Qualies in 90 degree heat-any tourney on tv know is going to be pleasant to watch regardless of who-whom. If you really like a player-SPEND THE BUCKS AND TAKE A VACATION-PALM SPRINGS-KEY BISCAYNE ETC. It much better in person anyway.

The Franchise
03-12-2004, 08:56 AM
Sorry man, I consider myself more than just a casual tennis fan and even I don't want to see Spadea vs. Kiefer. I can see your point, but generally, casual fans will only want to see people they can identify with, and those are home grown Americans. And you definitely can't discount the nationalist factor. Americans want to see other Americans whooping on other country men. Luckily for me, I'm a huge fan of Agassi and Roddick among others like Ferrero, Hewitt, and Safin....so either way, I win....muahahahahaha.

marc tressard
03-12-2004, 09:01 AM
In their own feeble way they are trying, but if the ratings drop to under a 2 share their interest in any coverage will wane. Recall how at the Scotsdale tournament Tim Ryan noted "Set points for Spadea" and later, "1st set to Vince Spadea" even though it was
6-5. The color man, Mali Vai, said nothing out of respect(?) and they broke for commercials. I dont't know but can't assume there are too many out there who care about players out of the top 5. I do and would watc the 190 play the 140, but I am tennis freak and not representative of the larger audience. Tennis by all reliable accounts is in serious media trouble these days and my big fear is that some day not too far inthe future the slams will be pay for view. A few ESPN commentators were rating all the sports the other day in one segment: both Tony Kornhiser and his sidekick laughed and said "tennis..is totally DOA, dead" and tossed the tennis icon on the lfoor and went on to college football and nascar... From what I've heard, ratings for even the women's finals at the big tournaments are dropping. It looks like Serena and Venus will be part timers too, andevne I am not that thrilled by that rivalry anymore. The Argentine men and Fererro are just not charismatic either. andre will onlyplay for shor time after which it may be dark for a while. Please don't tell me about Genepri and Fish and Blake, and Dent. i tjus tain't what iusded to be evnea sthe quality of the game is very high. The thrill of the all Williams or even the all Belgian final is waning even as the WTA "glamour" was to be the big hope for the sport. Apparently not, at least not now. Right now it is far better to play than to follow on TV.

03-12-2004, 09:12 AM
Well like I mentioned before-those who lived prior to ESPN coverage remember the poor coverage. Tennis was declared dead by Sports Illustrated back in the early 90's!!!! They are always saying it's dying but each sport in it's own has a hard time living up to the ratings. NHL = dead. NBA = almost lifeless-The Clevland Saviour is going into Ultra Hype mode. Golf = irrelavant without Tiger-geez the guy finishes 14th and he gets mor press than the top 3 combined. Tennis isn't going down the tubes-there's too many choices to view-our attention span is less than 3 minutes.

03-12-2004, 09:15 AM
I'm looking forward to TTC's coverage of Indian Wells tomorrow (3/13). They'll be airing all the first round matches on the main(?) court wall-to-wall. Too bad, that's the only day they'll be covering the tournament.

03-12-2004, 09:45 AM
Stevens, one sport that is going on a tear is Nascar. Across the board, all types of people love Nascar, it's not just for rednecks anymore. Black people, who used to stay away, are getting into the fun too. I mean they pack a quarter of a million people into these stadiums.

03-12-2004, 10:01 AM
:? Well I mentioned those in trouble not those prospering, NFL, college football etc. I don't have a clue about NASSCAR. I live in the northwest and they are considering blg an 80K racetrack. Again-tennis will always have their niche. The golden rule in the golden land = make as much $ as you can then watch tennis in person.

Kevin Patrick
03-12-2004, 10:33 AM
Here's a good article that may help explain the 'minor sport' staus tennis has in the US:

U.S. Professional Tennis: In Crisis


The LA Times publishes ratings for every sport weekly. I know a bit about how the ratings work & tennis' ratings are extremely small regardless of what player is involved. Grand Slam finals are the only matches that achieve any sort of rating, and Americans do help, but it is pretty much dead as a far as TV viewing in this country.