ESPN Wimbledon Coverage Release: Gilbert Returns; Like It or Rip It?
by Staff | June 16th, 2008, 1:06 pm

June 16, 2008

Extensive Wimbledon Coverage on ESPN2 &
Most Extensive Digital Rights Allows Fans to Watch in More Ways
With the start of a new six-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, U.S. tennis fans will receive nearly 100 hours of Wimbledon: The Championships on ESPN2, plus the most extensive digital rights in Wimbledon history, largely via, ESPN’s premier broadband service. In addition, Wimbledon programming will be found on ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic, ESPN International and, for the first time, on ESPN Interactive Television.

“At the heart of ESPN’s newly extended relationship with Wimbledon is our pledge to reach tennis fans wherever and however they consume this Grand Slam event, and this does that,” says Len DeLuca, ESPN senior vice president, programming & acquisitions.

ESPN2 will begin day-long live programming when play begins Monday, June 23, and continue daily through Sunday, July 6, starting with the first ball in play and continuing through a recap of the Gentlemen’s final, totaling 98.5 hours. Each weekday, ESPN2’s live coverage from London will begin at 7 a.m. ET, with:

extensive live coverage of matches, including all-day coverage the first week;
one ladies’ and one gentlemen’s semifinal (July 3 and 4, respectively);
and a one-hour SportsCenter at Wimbledon aired immediately following NBC’s coverage of the ladies’ (Saturday, July 5 at 2 p.m.) and gentlemen’s (Sunday, July 6 at 3 p.m.) championship.
(Note: on June 30 — July 2, ESPN2 will provide alternate programming in the Pacific Time Zone from 1 — 4 p.m. ET, which is 10 a.m. — 1 p.m. PT.)

ESPN2’s Commentator Lineup
Dick Enberg will work his 25th Wimbledon to call matches, sharing the duty with Cliff Drysdale — the two-time Wimbledon semifinalist who has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in 1979. They will team with analysts Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. In addition, Brad Gilbert, an ESPN analyst 2004 — 2006, returns after a two-year coaching stint. Shriver will frequently be utilized as a roving reporter covering play in “outer courts” and as a sideline reporter, as will Luke Jensen who will also appear on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio and Chris Fowler, who has served as ESPN’s studio host for Grand Slam tennis events since 2003, will host and call select matches. In addition, legendary tennis journalist and commentator Bud Collins, who joined ESPN in August 2007, will make his Wimbledon debut for ESPN.

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22 Comments for ESPN Wimbledon Coverage Release: Gilbert Returns; Like It or Rip It?

Glenn Says:

I’m sad not to see Gimelstob and Navratilova’s names in the list of commentators. They’ve always got great insights – Navratilova on the technical side, and Gimelstob on just about everything.

Chris Says:

Gimelstob insightful? ummm, not really.

Glenn Says:

Hahaha! I just meant he always has something to say, which makes it interesting.

freakyfrites Says:

I love Brad Gilbert’s commentary! Yes, he’s a goof and he can’t pronounce names (instead of Rafa Nadal he says Ralph Nader) but he offers the best technical and strategic commentary this side of Martina Navratilova (who I’m guessing will be with Tennis Channel for Wimby.)

Now why don’t they get rid of Chris Fowler already? What a waste.

auntietam Says:

Glad to hear that Gilbert’s back … I like the rest of the team pretty well too. Gimelstob is annoying i hope they never hire him. i can’t wait for wimbledon to start! Yay!

Kent Says:

Gilbert’s the best tennis commentator out there; he’s great at strategy and behind the scenes tidbits. I’m glad he’s back in the lineup!

Sad Smiles Says:

I think overall US commentators are really bad. Listen to european commentators and you will find the difference.US Comm. talk too much it seem.

gaobest Says:

The Tennis Channel also advertises full coverage of Wimbledon – will they use this same group of commentators or have their own crew?


Susan Says:

How about getting rid of Enberg?? No kidding he has an extensive vocabulary. But it’s sports, not English class. The guy LOVES to hear himself talk. Save it for the closing remarks….PLEASE.

Welcome Back Brad!!!

jsemper Says:

Like it!
that Gilbert is back. He brings fun to the table.
Mary Carrilo is such a pro.
I will miss Johnny Mac, or will he be on Tennis Channel?
Another of my favorites is Jim Courier. I havent heard him for a while…. maybe he is playing tennis!

cgator41 Says:

I enjoy Brad Gilbert on ESPN. Of course he is a goof, but who else can come up with classic nicknames like “Dickie Gasket”?

I guess I am one of the few left that still enjoys Dick Enberg and his passion for the game. Maybe he is getting up there in years, but he is still my favorite commentator (along with Johnny Mac and Carillo).

peter Says:

I completely agree with Susan. Enberg’s commentary couldn’t be less enlightening or informed.

If someone hits a big forehand winner, he’ll say ‘what a great forehand winner’. If someone servers an ace, he’ll remind us that what we just saw was an ace. If the score is 15/30 and the screen reads 15/30 and the umpire says 15/30 then he’ll say it’s 15/30. Who cares about the strengths, weaknesses and the unfolding strategies of the players.

ESPN should save themselves a salary. Happy to listen to Brad. Please don’t make me listen to that Dick any more.

trilby Says:

Also enjoy Brad but the rest of the ESPN crew could readily be retired as far as I’m concerned. Was surprised – and delighted – when TSN (Canada) seemed to use an Australian feed for the FO coverage this year, right up until the men’s finals. Fred Stolle and co know their tennis. They allowed us watch the game in peace and their commentary was supportive and interesting, not an obsessive need to fill every scrap of air time with statistics, fatuous personal opinion (McEnroe), gossip, stating the readily obvious (Enberg), intrusive interviews from the tunnel or from the stands in the middle of play (Fernandez) etc. Last year at Wimbly I was so furious with the ESPN/NBC crew, I tried having the TV muted with Radio Wimbledon on my computer. Alas, there was about a 15 second difference in transmission, so it didn’t work. This year I’ll be spending more time with my thumb on the mute button. Thanks for giving me a place to rant.

Nick Says:

Is there anyone else out there who is greatly irritated by not being able to see the current scores at the top of the screen? I can only see the bottom half of the bottom words. Very frustrating not knowing what the score is. Do we need the Bottom Line all the time? this is very distracting.

Robert B. Kent Says:

I was delighted to learn you are doing Wimbledon, but there is much too much talk and too many talkers. I have watched tennis on British TV. The announcers talk little. Also you switch too much. And please get rid of the distracting flier at the bottom of the screen. You shut it off during commercials. Small wonder! Please simply shut it off. Warm regards to Bud Collins. Bob Kent

Bruce Says:

I can’t do this anymore! The constant, unending, inane chatter is too much to bear. How I miss the old early day coverage when the BBC feed was used. It was wonderful. Almost no talk, and when they did speak, the comments were insightful and, can you believe it, actually about the match we were watching. My mute button is just about worn out. Please, everyone, just stop yammering.

Keith Vitali Says:

Brad Gilbert, Cliff Drysdale, Mary Jo Fernadez and Pat McEnroe are brilliant with their TV analysis as always. While I’m a fan of Serena, Mary Carillo’s love fest with the Williams sisters is disgusting. Be fair to your audience just once and tell everyone that Sarina’s abnormal size with her man-like muscularity should be under investigation for steroid use.
Also for ESPN, focus on the top men’s matches more and save some of the others for fill in time matches when you need them.

Les Tregear Says:

Way way too much talk on ESPN coverage.
I would watch with the sound off if my wife did not insist on hearing the sounds of the game.
If I could not fast forward through all that talk I would not watch at all.

John Moore Says:

All the inane chatter and opinions of the so-called ‘analysts’ is driving my wife and I to distraction in our attempt to enjoy the broadcast. If they’re so brilliant in knowing just how the game should be played, why aren’t they on the courts? Just SHUT UP!!! The worst of all is Cahill and he ought to be dropped as a commentator because HE NEVER STOPS. What a pain. Will he ever shut up and let someone else get a word in edgewise if possible? Let’s have a bit more of Patrick and Cliff. We’re not interested in what Cahill, Carrillo et al think – we just want to watch the action with some sensible helpful comment here and there.

John Moore Says:

As an addendum to my earlier comments – Brad Gilbert? Great. Adds a bit of mirth too.

sean Says:

this is a letter I submitted to both Brad’s website and ESPN feedback form:
To Whom It May Concern:

I just had to write and express how irritated I have been with Brad’s commentary on ESPN Wimbledon coverage. I’ve been an avid fan of tennis since my parents managed Forrest Meadows Tennis club in Tallahassee Florida when I was growing up. Only once before I have reached a level of irritation worthy of me taking the time to write. The other commentator was Tracy Austin.
Your refusal to pronounce Simon’s name is unprofessional, disrespectful and arrogant. Negative feedback sucks and I would rather spend my time writing to people who do an outstanding job. I don’t care who you’ve coached. I would much rather listen to McEnroe any day of the week.
I’m sure Brad is a nice enough guy although his behavior over the last week on ESPN has been a bad representation. I have also used the contact form on ESPN to express my feedback.
Best wishes,
Sean O’Malley

MBE Says:



I encorage everyone who disagree with his commentary to send e-mails to ESPN.


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