We’re mad as hell, aren’t we American tennis fans? NBC’s tape delayed “protections” have ruined the second week of Wimbledon – slicing and dicing the coverage in a thoroughly discombobulating matter. And you East Coasters have it good – on the West Coast, we’re stuck with a three hour window between 7am and 10am when there is no tennis on at all!
Yes, we can visit the livestreams. But is looking at a blurry, buffered, postage-stamp-sized simulacrum of Wimbledon’s hallowed Centre Court really an acceptable alternative, especially when big networks like ESPN and NBC are there, at Wimbledon, burning through money and resources to supposedly broadcast tennis in diamond-sharp HD?
Yes, it’s just us, the disenfranchised tennis fans, against Big Media and millions of dollars worth of broadcast rights. But we need to do what we can! Tennis fans, unite!
FIGHT BACK AGAINST NBC’s WIMBLEDON TAPE DELAY:
Option 1: Send a message to the All England Club, which sells broadcast rights and can dictate conditions to networks. Click here for Wimbledon’s TV broadcast feedback form.
Option 2: Email NBC a withering critique.
DICK EBERSOL, CHAIRMAN OF NBC SPORTS: Dick.Ebersol@nbcuni.com
NBC SPORTS: firstname.lastname@example.org
Option 3: Sign the online petition
Option 4: If you have any better options than those above, let us know!
Word to the wise – keep your feedback civil and constructive and it will be taken more seriously. I’ve included some great examples of mainstream tennis fan outrage below.
The New York Times reads NBC the riot act:
If NBC Sports can’t carry Wimbledon matches live, especially crucial ones, it shouldn’t carry Wimbledon at all. The network’s tape-delay dance — and its excuses — have grown tired. . .
We’ve heard for years NBC’s reasons for tape-delaying Wimbledon and the French Open: its allergy to pre-empting the “Today” show on weekday mornings and past difficulties in pre-empting Saturday morning kiddie programming or Sunday morning religious shows. It’s become so much yadda yadda yadda. I’m sure that NBC knew that those majors were played in Europe when it signed those deals. And I’m sure that it’s 2009 — technology keeps changing, and fans have little or no tolerance for sports events not shown live.
NBC’s license to tape-delay matches dates to old contracts the All England Club should have changed long ago. Now, the club must require significant change. No fan should have to care that NBC’s arrangements, in its world, or with ESPN, mitigate against live match broadcasts. (click here for the full article.)
NBC’s lame explanation via Sports Business Daily:
NBC gets to choose one match to show in their window. The broadcaster chose the Federer-Ivo Karlovic match, even though it could not be aired live. “We’re following history,” said an NBC spokesperson, referencing Federer going for his record 15th Grand Slam title.
Yeah, NBC is “following” history alright – following by about 2-3 hours. This isn’t the stone age (i.e. pre-internet.) Sports fans demand and deserve LIVE COVERAGE. Tennis fans should not be treated like children at Christmas (“No peeking!”)
My favorite line comes from an article on Yahoo! Sports: “No wonder the network makes great decisions like dumping Leno for Conan and spending $10 million for one episode of ‘Kings.”
Word. (Except for the Conan thing – love him!)
In closing, I’ll say one kind word about NBC – it got last year’s final right. It’s disappointing that NBC has squandered all of that goodwill and excitement – this was the opportunity to grow the game and the audience, not confound it.