Indian Wells, Miami Tennis Events No Longer on ESPN
by Staff | February 8th, 2008, 1:02 pm
  • 34 Comments

With countless hours of Indian Wells and Miami broadcast on ESPN/ESPN2, for many years tennis fans have long had their very own version of March Madness. That will change next month when for the first time Fox Sports Net will takeover the U.S. broadcast rights for both Indian Wells and Miami Masters Series tournaments after ESPN and the two events could not reach a financial agreement.

In an interview Thursday with Tennis-X.com’s Richard Vach, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions Len Deluca spoke about the change.

“The two Masters Series tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami are unquestionably the next best tournaments beyond the Grand Slams,” Deluca said. “But we have made a decision based on the time of the year, and the other 400 hours of tennis that we have. We love those tournaments, but for 2008 we weren’t in a position to offer them the number of hours or a deal that they could accept financially.”

Deluca added that ESPN’s plate is already very full in March with the network already committed to men’s and women’s college basketball and the NBA.

In addition to the US Open Series in the summer, ESPN will continue to broadcast the Amelia Island and Charleston WTA tournaments this spring. The Tennis Masters Cup, which had also been part of the ESPN family for many years, will also move to Fox Sports Net.

Under a reported one-year deal, Fox Sports Net will televise 30 live hours from Indian Wells including the both men’s and women’s finals, plus Miami. CBS will still televise both Miami finals.

Deluca also shed light on the Davis Cup’s recent absence on the network.

“The issue with the Davis Cup for us is its schedule, its variance of schedule and giving it the hours it deserves,” he said. “It’s unquestionably a great international event, but we always had issues with the varied schedule Davis Cup has. And we made the decision that we could cover it on news and information, we have ESPNews, we have all of that, but that we are going to focus our energy on the Grand Slams and the US Open Series.”

According to Deluca, ESPN will continue to focus on Grand Slam coverage.

“Five years ago, ESPN decided to make a full strategy toward emphasizing Grand Slam coverage,” Deluca said. “We just finished our 24th Australian Open, we added Roland Garros and some things NBC doesn’t do in concert with Tennis Channel. We now basically do around the clock coverage of Roland Garros, and we’ve cut [Tennis Channel]
into the Australian Open. We also finished five years of covering Wimbledon and everything NBC doesn’t do for American viewers. That coupled with the US Open Series, we have what amounts to about 400 hours of tennis right there.”

Look for Richard Vach’s full interview with Deluca in the coming weeks.


Also Check Out:
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Poll: Do You Support the Williams Sisters’ Decision to Not Play Indian Wells?
Nadal Denies Reports Of Not Playing IW/Miami; Marca Sticks With The Story
Poll: Should Rafael Nadal Skip Indian Wells And/Or Miami?

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34 Comments for Indian Wells, Miami Tennis Events No Longer on ESPN

American Tennis Fans Says:

What is Fox Sports Net?


Jeffrey Says:

This is not good news for tennis. Few people even know what or where FSN is on their cable box. Let’s hope this is temporary.


Zola Says:

ESPN is a disgrace. I am still mad at them for ruining the Australian Open coverage with all that crap ESPN360.
I don’t even know where Fox sport is but USTA and ATP and IFT and ….BMW… and whoever else is involved in tennis in the United States, have to do something. Otherwise in 10 years after Roddick and Blake and Bryans are gone, tennis racquets will be museum items!


johnnhoj Says:

Tennis-X, you really must update your player photos. I know some are funny, but come on. That Roddick pic is from when exactly??? Oh, yeah, and the Federer pics circa ’01-’02 with the ponytail and multi-patched denim jeans (sometimes while milking a cow) are funny, but some new pics are in order. :^D

It would be truly great if The Tennis Channel played more classic matches instead of taking up airtime with crappy reruns of “Center Court with Chris Myers” from four freakin’ years ago or dated episodes of “Other Side with…” or “On the Road with…” The best they’ve offered in recent months has been a lousy Agassi documentary that should have been more thorough/comprehensive (like a mini-Ken Burns project). It’s gotta be lack of funds – what else?


FoT Says:

You guys better run and get a subscription to the ATPmasterseries tv site then! …and why have a “Tennis Channel” if they don’t cover all the tennis events?


Von Says:

“Deluca added that ESPN’s plate is already very full in March with the network already committed to men’s and women’s college basketball and the NBA.”

Absolutely, what with the poker tournaments, bowling, innumerable hours broadcasting every football/basketball match on the face of this earth, I can see how their plate would be full. Their coverage was lousy anyway.

The TMC was covered for approx 4 hours per day, delayed broadcasts, and instead of the presentation/trophy ceremony we got to see Deysdale/ P. McEnroe/Fernandez filling up the whole screen rehashing and disecting every point played.

I like Versus and The Tennis Channel, however, the Tennis Challel is handcuffed due to the broadcasting rights US/ESPN. With ESPN out of the picture I think we’ll see more tournaments being broadcasted on The Tennis Channel.

Considering ESPN has so many channels, their argument that their plate is full is pretty lame. As the writer stated in this article that ESPN could not reach a “financial agreement” for the IW and Miami MS tournaments, it all comes down to the almighty dollar. If the dollar amount was satisfactory to ESPN those “plate full” arguments would disappear. That is a “save face” argument.

“It would be truly great if The Tennis Channel played more classic matches instead of taking up airtime with crappy reruns of “Center Court with Chris Myers…”

I agree, but then again it’s the rights infringement clause. For the Tennis Channel to broadcast more tournament classics they would have to purchase those matches/tournaments from ESPN at a huge price. I don’t think the Tennis Channel has that kind of money. Perhaps if the Tennis Channel could entice a larger viewer participation, then they probably would be enabled to purchase those programs. Again, the emphasis is on the almighty dollar.

Have money will travel.


Zola Says:

FoT,
I have the ATP masters TV and it is the best money I have spent. seriously recommend it. Buy it and dump ESPN . Then maybe they start acting decent.

Von,
commentators filling the screen during presentation ceremony in TMC? why am I not surprised? It was the same in AO. As if it is air time for them instead of the poor players!


Von Says:

Hi Zola:

“I have the ATP masters TV and it is the best money I have spent.”

How did you get the ATP Masters TV? Is it part of a cable package? I am very interested, could you give me the info.

Were you surprised about DC, Russia v. Serbia. I was not surprised. Rotterdam is just a week away.


Zola Says:

Von,
you can buy it from here:

http://tinyurl.com/32vjb9

A full year package gives you access to te 9 master series events plus interviews, reviews, etc. as well as several matches from previous years. You watch it anywhere you want on your PC. You can buy a cable from radioshack and connect your computrer to your TV and watch it on big screen. no commercial, no interruption and the pic quality is very good. You can also buy a tournament pass and try it for one event. But I am happy with my 1-year subscription.

I am a bit surprised at the doubles result between Russia and Serbia. The rest I expected more or less. I am hoping for a big win for Russia!


Von Says:

Zola:

Thanks for the info on The ATP Masters. I will look up that web site.

“I am a bit surprised at the doubles result between Russia and Serbia. The rest I expected more or less. I am hoping for a big win for Russia!”

The doubles is a difficult win for Russia. They usually have Safin playing doubles but from the little I heard he was not well. They need a doubles team like the US or other countries. Tomorrow Youzhny, Tursunov or Davydenko are going to have to get one (1) win between the three to move on. I’d like to see Russia win.


False Mars Says:

ESPN is bizarre! They only show poker tournaments now… just call it the Poker Network!

To actually WATCH tennis, I go to http://www.tennisDVDwarehouse.com where I can get all of my favorite matches and watch them without commercials on dvd!!!


jane Says:

“ESPN is bizarre! They only show poker tournaments now… just call it the Poker Network!”

In Canada, TSN, the ESPN affiliate, we also get the privilege of watching cup-stacking and log cutting from time-to-time; this, when there’s no hockey or poker, of course!

I think I’ll take Zola’s advice…


SamiAm Says:

Do the tournaments/ATP share no blame in any of this? Why do you people always blame the networks (ESPN, Tennis Channel, etc) when clearly by what was written an “agreement” between the two parties was not reached.

Were the tournaments asking for too much money (or not paying enough)? Did ESPN want fewer hours?


rogers twin sister Says:

I couldn’t be more delighted that ESPN doesn’t really want to broadcast two great tournies. It’s not as though they were ever competent at it anyway, so no great loss. However, this is the time that Tennis Channel needs to step up to the plate to prove to the subscribers that they really are in the business of televising matches to us. They should also dump Gimelstob. He’s even more annoying than that factoid idiot, Ted Robinson, or the senile Dick Enberg and the geriatric Bud Collins.


Marko, Serbia Says:

Well, that’s shame.

The two Masters Series tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami are unquestionably the next best tournaments beyond the Grand Slams.


FoT Says:

I tell you what… in the initial year of the ATP masterseries TV site when they were trying to promote it, they offered it for $25 with an option of always offering it for that price.

That was the best $25 I have ever spent. Each year it gets better and better and it still only cost me $25 a year for all of the Master’s events. Last year they started it like Wimbly live in which if you didn’t see the match live, you could see the replay in it’s entirety…

Yep, best $25 I have ever spent!


Zola Says:

I just noticed the column for the other x-blog writer ( Richard Vach, I might get the name wrong)is not there anymore. hm……


Skorocel Says:

To Zola:

I was wondering too… Where’s Richard Vach?


MrEdCT Says:

This is unfortunate – I have enjoyed these tourneys on ESPN in prior years, and I don’t want to upgrade to Digital Cable on my system.

The ratings for tennis on TV have been declining; if they thought it would draw a good demographic they would show more of it. I am afraid that with declining ratings more tennis will shift to pay services.


SG Says:

I’m not the least bit surprised by ESPN’s position. Corporations have one mandate…make as much money as you can as fast as you can make it and keep the shareholders happy. We blame ESPN for their position on this issue which quite frankly, isn’t fair.

Just look at TV today. It’s a joke. We have programs on TV where some idiotic host asks you ridiculously personal questions in front of millions of people and you have to decide whether or not you are going to lie. We have poker being hyped as a sport. Since when is there one ounce of physical skill associated poker?!? How is the global promotion of gambling even the least bit socially responsible? But, it gets the hype because online gambling entities like Poker.net and PokerStars.com hype the hell out of it and pay networks for ad time. There are programs where people eat bugs for money. Where is out societal self-respect. This kind of degenerate programming wouldn’t be on if there weren’t people (…and a very number of people in fact) that wanted to see this kind of crap.

TV is a reflection of our values. Today, TV cow tows to lowest common denominator. No wonder a beautiful sport like tennis doesn’t have a chance. At the end of the day, we all need to change ourselves a bit if we expect what we see on TV to change. Until this happens, we’ll all be watching poker a whole lot more than we’d like to.

I do know this. If I were the Miami Masters or Indian Wells or whoever, I’d rather have my tennis shown on the Tennis Channel than sell out to ESPN. Rant’s over now.. catch ya’ later.


SG Says:

jane Says:

In Canada, TSN, the ESPN affiliate, we also get the privilege of watching cup-stacking and log cutting from time-to-time; this, when there’s no hockey or poker, of course!

—————————————
TSN is kind of a mess these days. At least log cutting requires some measure of physical skill.

My biggest beef with TSN is their love-in with the pathetic Leafs. You’d almost think they own stock in the damn team. Most of the people working at TSN weren’t even alive last time the Leafs won the Cup. Worse than this is the frenzy that occurs if the Leafs string together a couple of wins.

For most of the last 5 or 6 years, the Canucks (who are not my team) have had some very nice teams. Yet, they are scarcely mentioned.


xtroll Says:

I was wondering too… Where’s Richard Vach?
——-

Who cares? He was a terrible reporter. Tennis-x can only improve with his absence. Up next on the chopping block should be Sean Randall.


Zola Says:

xtroll

***Tennis-x can only improve with his absence. Up next on the chopping block should be Sean Randall.***

Agree with the first part , disagree with the second. Sean is a decent writer. He posts regularly and people can comment on his writings freely. Him and Abe are great and tennis-x should know that the readers appreciate good writers.

SG
great post on the TV…
I say dump ESPN. If all they care about is money, then when they lose subscriptions, they might try to find out why!


Sad Smiles Says:

GUYS, You DON’T have to purchase atpmasters.tv subscription. You can watch free live tennis online on various web players available for free. Like sopcast – you can see Star Sports Asia which telecasts tennis matches or ESPN asia. Just keep looking and you may find a channel online for free.Or TVU network sometime you can find TTC here. So keep looking after all it’s free.And yes, better commentary team. I am sick of US commentators same guys John,Fowler,Mary etc….can’t take it anymore.


Zola Says:

sad smiles,
I have tvu and sopcast. Also channelsurfing.net has links to all of these free broadcasts. But the quality is incomparable. You might get lucky with some matches, but too often, it buffers too frequently or the picture freezez or breaks. with ATP you have a great quality. The best is that all the matches are saved and if you miss one you can go back and watch again. I also love the interviews, preious finals, etc… Of course it is a personal choice, but I strongly recommend it. For non-master series, I ususlly use online streaming sources.


Skorocel Says:

To Zola:

Can you also download those “saved” matches?


zola Says:

Skorocel,
I don’t think so. you still stream it from ATP.


Nishikori, Murray Family Celebrate Wins While Djokovic Succumbs to Sickness Says:

[...] « Indian Wells, Miami Tennis Events No Longer on ESPN February 17th, 2008 Nishikori, Murray Family Celebrate Wins While Djokovic Succumbs to Sickness by Sean Randall [...]


johnnhoj Says:

FSN is just a couple of channels above ESPN and ESPN2 on the digital cablebox guide (in my area, anyway), for all of you who’ve been worried about where to go.


Henry Says:

ESPN has been the worst at transmitting tennis. During all the top matches of most major tournaments they have their Mike & Mike radioshow on tv (radio talk on tv…? – unbelievable…!! )

Let’s hope that FOX – the self proclaimed “Fair and Balanced” news network – for once shows they are truly fair and balanced (which is hard to believe judging from their ‘unbiased’ covering of the news/issues) and show all top matches and not just matches involving US players, which ESPN would typically do. Thank God for Tennis Channel !! and TVU Networks… for those tennisfans that are as fed up with not being able to get live tennis coverage of tournaments outside the US… download the TVU player it’s free and then find a channel that sends out live tennis.


Von Says:

Oh Henry:

Didn’t you just love Mike & Mike in the Morning interrupting the AO matches at the most critical point of the game without a warning from ESPN.


Henry Says:

Von, yeah couldn’t believe my eyes…

I’m usually a very courteous guy but ESPN, sorry, really sucks!! Together with other tennis fans we have been phoning and e-mailing to no avail. Why doesn’t anyone tell these guys, especially those selling off the broadcast rights…. assume the total amount they get is more important than serving the world tennis community. Those selling the rights get it both ways. First they sell to the highest network bidder and then they sell (constantly buffering and, therefore, poor quality)live streaming video to watch live because those that have the rights don’t send out all matches….what’s wrong with this picture…?


Von Says:

Henry:

“Together with other tennis fans we have been phoning and e-mailing to no avail.”

If you were ‘fortunate’ to receive a reply, it would have been in the format of a rather lovely generic response, e.g., they will look into the matter and advise you of their findings, which would infuriate you even more.

“…what’s wrong with this picture…?”

Money, money, and more money. As I stated previously, it’s all about the almighty dollar. ESPN will be making millions from those broadcasting rights for years to come. They will also limit the quantity of matches sold in order to derive a larger profit. It’s the supply vs. demand theory, viz. monopoly, or maybe in their case, oligopoly.

Hopefully, FSN will be do a better job of serving the tennis viewers.


lione Says:

I live in NYC, and I can’t find FSN on my cable box, please does anyone know where to find it here in NYC? I just CAN’T believe that! I moved to NYC last year from europe, where there’s a least one tournament by week on eurosport!!!

Sometimes even two tournaments (ATP & WTA)!!! And from anywhere in the world, I am paying for that F*** Tennis channel and you guys are so right it’s suuuuuucccccks….

I cant’ stand anymore those stupid programs

Is there anyway to contact them? That would be great if all together we decide to send them some “lovely” mails!!!

but first thing where can I get FSN before wednesday?

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