“The only thing better than one McEnroe is two.” says ESPN, after the network snatched up John McEnroe for its US Open broadcasting team.
Here’s the scoop from ESPN:
Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe will serve as an analyst when ESPN makes its debut at the US Open beginning in late August. This year, ESPN will cover all four of tennis’ Grand Slam events – something no U.S. network has ever done – largely on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com. McEnroe will sometimes be paired with his younger brother Patrick, a former player, an ESPN analyst since 1995 and the U.S. Davis Cup captain since 2000. John will also appear on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS and ESPN Radio. . .
For many years, McEnroe has worked as an analyst for CBS, NBC and USA – John will continue his duties relative to CBS during the US Open. Well-known for his brash on-court behavior, he has earned a reputation for insightful and outspoken commentary on television. He worked for ESPN once previously – the U.S. vs. Croatia in Davis Cup action in March 2005 from Carson, Calif. . .
According to the six-year agreement announced last year, ESPN2 will carry approximately 100 hours of live action from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center annually. In addition, it includes an expansive array of digital rights for ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband network, and other outlets and international coverage. The US Open will follow ESPN’s summer-long coverage of the Olympus US Open Series, the first time one cable provider has covered both the OUSOS and the US Open.
I thought the USA Network did a great job, and was sad when its 25 year run ended last summer. But ESPN has done right by tennis in the past few years, increasing its coverage, adding guys like Cahill and Gilbert to the booth, and showing commercial free “bonus coverage” into the wee hours of the Australian Open. So it makes sense that John McEnroe will be joining the team – now will the network sign on fellow USA-alum, Jon Wertheim?
I’m sure ESPN didn’t want to be upstaged by Tennis Channel, which already signed Jimmy Connors as its lead US Open analyst.
Unfortunately, we still have to worry about CBS slaughtering the matches on the weekends (i.e. the best matches.) The network commits the cardinal coverage sin - the dreaded “skip ahead” to fit tennis into its little broadcast windows. BOO, HISS!
Photo from Daily Mail U.K.