Blake in Final of Possibly Fictitious “Masters Cup”
by Richard Vach | November 19th, 2006, 12:29 am

Apparently there’s this event, the Masters Cup or Masters or Grand Prix final or ATP Championship, something, going on in Shanghai. In the morning I get on the internet and see the results, so unless this is an elaborate internet hoax, something is going on.

Today Roger Federer played Rafael Nadal, that must have been a good match — for international fans at least, because in the U.S. it wasn’t on TV. I guess they plan to show the rerun 16 hours or something after the actual event. I’ll look for that if I’m up at 2 a.m. This is supposed to be the “Super Bowl” of events for the ATP featuring its two marquee players, and in the U.S. media, it’s as if it doesn’t exist. Becuase you know the first rule of sports marketing — get your sport on TV. Live.

The ATP has teamed with an entity that, if you pay them, you can watch the matches live on your computer screen. Two problems with that: a) Since tennis is like the 14th most popular sport in the U.S., whose idea was it to make people pay for it? and; b) I don’t want to watch my computer screen for an hour and a half to two hours. I have to sit and look at a computer screen practically all day as it is. I just bought a widescreen HD TV. I want to watch it on that — not on a computer screen, not on my phone — on TV! Like real sports!

You think golf can’t get their events on TV in the U.S. and has to funnelf fans to the internet regularly? Or NASCAR? That crap is on TV all weekend. When Tiger Wood steps on a golf course, ESPN’s SportsCenter starts preparing a feature package. Federer, who plays an actual sport, nary gets a sniff of airtime on U.S. sports news.

My European friends are telling me this is a great event, but if this “Masters Cup” really exists, wouldn’t it be on TV in the U.S.? Hmmm. I’ll have to call James Blake’s mom, see if this is actually going on. As one of the Internet results sites told me Blake is in the final against the world No. 1 Federer. That would be a good match. Americans would probably want to watch that.

Guess tomorrow I’ll check the internet again and see how that went. Whoooo! Tennis, catch the excitement American fans! Next time you wonder why tennis is so low on the U.S. sports totem pole — now you know.

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26 Comments for Blake in Final of Possibly Fictitious “Masters Cup”

svelterogue Says:

you nailed it right on the head. go james!!!! :)

Srikanth Says:




Srikanth Says:

I am seriously planning to switch to canadian satellite TV ( ExpressVu/ Starchoice)…. I cant take this shit anymore

If you have directv/dish you can use your current dish for expressvu. If you are interested there is a minnesota based company that arranges this.. if someone has experience with this plase post your comments.

here is the site that I found

Vicki Brooks Says:

Thank you Richard. What can we do? I’m mad as hell and I don’t want to take it anymore, but what can we do? I’ll check out the as one reader suggested. Perhaps we can petition the USTA to provide some support.

GopiB Says:

I think the ATP tour, the Grandslams, and the US media are all to blame.

Even when there is live coverage, it is just the match itself. There is no feature package on Federer or anyone. Imagine watching one of childhood Roger and of a kid Nadal prior to the match (as if one is even needed).

Then on ESPN you have to put up with Cliff Drysdale, the South African who will say anything on air for a $$ as he thinks his job is only to cheerlead US players shamelessly and put down “foreigners”. Even his blind support of Roddick or William Sisters is so shallow and superficial you’d wonder if he ever held a tennis racket. But for the McEnroes, you will have to watch tennis on mute in the US.

We desparately need the Tennis Channel to copy hour by hour what the Golf Channel does, and have it on all cable and satellite providers as part of the basic line up.

Nike and other advertisers will pay. Is there a Sharapova or Serena in Golf? So, Tennis channel should do much much better than the Golf Channel.

GopiB Says:

I woke up at 5am on Sat and was stunned the match wasn’t on. “Luckily”, I found the Master’s TV online, charged the $5 on my credit card in my sleep, and watched the whole Federer-Nadal match on my 19″ LCD monitor. On Sunday, the 2am was too early to get up and watch on my computer downstairs.

This is one of the benefits of living in the US. You get tape delayed and packaged matches in this land of innovation, and the land of marketing.

This is capitalizm gone completely wrong. How can ESPN control or censor showing of live matches? What if a public channel is willing to show all matches live?

Who are these people who watch these taped delays and still make it worthwhile for ESPN to make a buck? At the expense of so many tennis fans in the US.

TejuZ Says:

Hardluck for you guys.. Luckily the Masters cup was aired live (or say delayed by an hr) here in Sydney. Fed-Nadal match was great tennis… Final was all-federer …. showing his mastery, Blake looked helpless.

Zola Says:

I purchesd that ATP web TV for the MAdrid cup and it just shows the highlights. Not the whole match. So oit really doesn’t worth it. Unless you want to go back and look at previous events. It also has the interviews.

I agree that tennis should be on TV. With all the money ATP is spending, how can they ignore USA? I am in Australia and I watched all games without interruption ( no commercials ..yeah!!!) on ABC. It was with 30 minutes delay, but it was fantastic…

NAdal-Federe match was one of the best tennis matches I have ever seen. After the match the commentators needed time to breath. Specially the last games od the second set, the match could go either way. But Federer saved it. Nevertheless, Rafa put a great fight. Federer’s reaction at the end of the match was very interesting, as if some of Rafa’s intesnsity had transferred to him. This is how this 20-year old kid plays and make others play and I just love it.

BR Says:

Thankfully ESPN covers this tournament at all. They have no obligation to do so and probably don;t get as good of ratings as they would if they showed a replay of a Bowling Green football game. Tennis is just not hot in the US right now and this tournament is not marketed here…even when it was played in Houston. I tell all my tennis friends this is the best tournament of the year but very few of them have ever heard of it or know the difference between a Masters level event and their local club tournament. The whole Masters Series needs to be sold to the mainstream and it is not being done.
I thought ESPN’s coverage was fine…if not live. When you are in the minority (as tennis fans are right now) you can not expect too much.

TejuZ Says:

yeah .. it was great here in Australia that we could see all these matches live without commercials. I have backed up most of them on a tape to watch them again.

Nadal did put up a fight.. but seems like Fed has slowly started to figure out Nadal’s game and his backhand has improved a lot. Except for the Nadal match, count of his backhand winners were more than his forehand winners. He did end the match in style against Nadal with forehand cross court winner which was more like flick.

22-2 against top 8 players in 5 years is really an awesome record for anybody. And he alredy assured of breaking the record for most number of weeks at No1 in succession even if he misses the next few tournaments.

Kiran Says:

Actually, both the matches were aired on American TV. (cable). But I must agree that tennis in America is low priority, as opposed to golf, football and basketball. I cant believe that they have time to show poker on tv. Is that sports? Come on. We need more air time for tennis.
Maybe our concerns are going to deaf ears, but hey, at least we can vent our frustations, right?

bg Says:

Fortunately, all the matches were shown live in India :-)
the problem with US is that they still havent learnt to appreciate the kind of efforts that Federer and Nadal are putting in right now. all they care for is a 5th set tie-breaker at Flushing Meadows and all the off-court activities of sexy tennis players. I would rather call this ‘cheap’ entertainment. unless the US public and media change their attitude, real tennis fans will have to suffer.

Mitchell Says:

I totally agree. The WTA Championships was shown on Versus. I don’t even have Versus. At the same time ESPN was showing a Paintball Championships. Paintball is what you do with your friends for fun, it’s not a sport. I wouldn’t think of shooting someone with paint, but playing tennis is a sport. I don’t understand. Also, ESPN shows competitive eating. But not tennis? WAKE UP ESPN!

raindeleigh Says:

OK, we all agree, more tennis should be shown on ESPN. Boo hoo, why are they so mean to us???

Lets get down to the basis of the reason it is not included.



VIEWERS, the casual ones who are sitting with their remote, want ENTERTAINMENT.

The US promoters of tennis would be wise to INVEST IN THE ENTERTAINMENT FACTOR which, to be successful, should

1. LOSE THE NATIONALITY factor when it comes to players. Then you have a large field of interesting characters and human interest stories. The casual viewer likes this stuff.

2. Invest in these human interest stories with clips and biography pieces to show during the tournaments. This BUILDS ATTACHMENTS to players who before were just “some foreign guy/girl”.

3. Entice interesting people (camera loving young people) to the tournaments and dedicate a lot of time to showing them in the crowd. Lets get real, this is a big draw for viewers and people who suddenly think to themselves, “hey, i’m going to that tournament, thats where the party is… Have you ever seen the golf tournaments in Scottsdale?? A scene. The Austrailian Open looks like a fun scene. We know this because components of the crowd (basically a lot of tanned young inebriated people)are shown on TV HAVING A GREAT TIME. It is shameless, but it works.

Showing peoples expressions to great shots is also entertaining. Viewers at my home really enjoyed the, ok, sometimes cheesy, shots of the pretty girls in the crowd in the US/Russia Davis Cup Matches. With thier oohs and ahhs. But hey, they were enjoying tennis…

4. The tournaments should be required by the WTA/ATP to CHANGE TICKET SALES APPROACH to that of a basketball game. SEEING A BUNCH OF EMPTY BOX SEATS DOES NOT SCREAM “THE PARTY IS HERE”.

If these changes were implicated tennis would be MORE ENTERTAINING

there could be renewed interest by the VIEWERS,

who are courted by the ADVERTISERS

who are making ESPN MONEY

who in turn decide in the boardroom that this “Tennis Stuff” is good for business.

Now, who is going to work on this???

Federer Fan Says:

Zola… I subscribed to the Master Series TV site and they showed all the matches LIVE (not just highlights), but you had to get up to watch them ‘live’, so I got up at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning to watch the Federer/Nadal match and at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning to watch Federer/Blake; Live and in color…every minute of it. They don’t even break away for commercials so you got to see what the players were doing even during change-over.

If we can get this coverage via the internet on my 25″ lap top (sorry about your 19″ one GopiB), then why can’t we purchase a subscription via the cable or satillite station or something so I could have watched it on my 64″ TV!

It would be interesting to see how many came off the $5 subscription purchase to watch the match over at the Master’s TV site. Since it was already being broadcast, some network could have even done a ‘pay-per-view’ of the matches! I would have ‘paid’ to see them live.

We can watch golf, golf lessons, European Golf, etc on the golf station but half the households in America still can’t get the Tennis channel. And if they did – they still couldn’t have seen the Master’s Cup since ESPN had the rights to it. It’s like what if the Masters at Agusta in Golf was taped delayed and played on TV 12 hours later…who would care? We would already know the score! I wish tennis would get the ‘respect’ it deserves here in America.

gabos Says:

agreed with BR, tennis may not get the best ratings on TV, compared to other sports. but let us quickly run through a brief list of other quality sports viewing regularly provided by ESPN:

world’s strongest man
women’s billiards- 9-ball
men’s trick shot pool
women’s trick shot pool
men’s professional bowling
women’s professional bowling
dog shows
dog olympics
horse racing
equestrian competition
bass fishing

No room for tennis in that crowded field, that’s for sure.

Zola Says:

Thanks for the tip. I think because of my experience with the Madrid cup I assumed the same thing for the MAsters. I will check next year. This year fortunately I was able to watch the matches, although the airing atrated at 12:30 am and went on till morning! Imagine me the next day at work!

In US you have to get comcast or dishnetwork or something else first, which costs you( and I am not a cable fan!). Then you can get ESPN or the tennis channel and if they wish, you can watch what they choose for you to watch. Some grandslams are shown on national TV, but only the second week.

Oh! The paintball,,..eating matches…they are all more favored over tennis by ESPN…

gabos Says:

ah yes… i forgot to list the ever-appealing paintball championships, and the sport of “competitive eating.” who could keep track of this infinitude of burgeoning sports? the market is just too crowded for tennis.

xzhutiger Says:

I am so sad that the match between Federer and Nadal at the Master Cup in Shanghai was not shown live in the US… I really wish our complaint would be heard loud and clear by ESPN or whomever would carry the TV program…

Richard, thanks for starting this blog…


Federer Fan Says:

Seems like Roger beat Nadal again – this time in the exhibition match in Korea 6-3, 3-6, 6-3! Any time Roger can beat Nadal (exhibition or not) is good for his confidence.

Zola Says:

Yep,… but Nadasl is in one of his lowest times and Federer is on the clouds now. I think we should wait and see….

yvonne Says:

very frustrating, in calif it was on espn2 however the scores were shown in the previous days news. The wta was not broadcast on tv except for versus/digital. Previous year it was broadcast from the Staples center in LA. Always the stepchild.

Federer Fan Says:

Check out this article. I think it’s one of the best summaries!

J-Rob Says:

As usual, the American mass media is ass-backwards. Yet another reason to turn off the idiot box.

Zola Says:

How often does this blog get updated? Every six months?

John Says:

In the U.S. those responsible for increasing interest in the sport don’t worry about unimportant things like live TV coverage. Their solutions are things like changing the rules, yeah that’ll bring them in. Instead of Federer/Nadal live, let’s do “on-court coaching”. How about a “doubles revolution”? Let’s talk to Billie Jean King and see what she thinks. Hey, “no-ad scoring”? That’s the ticket. Yeah, when the non-fans hear about that they’ll definitely come running.

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