It’s not bad enough the WTA tour made a “major” deal with erstwhile soccer channel beIN Sports, which tennis fans need to pay a premium to see on their cable or satellite subscriptions.
This week the WTA announced “WTA TV,” a livestreaming service which, once you pay even more, you can watch women’s tennis.
The service launches on July 31 for a $9.99 monthly pass or $74.99 for a year pass.
We’ll pass. Our cable bill is huge enough as is.
“Fans want more content and 24/7 access,” says embattled WTA CEO Steve Simon, who has overseen the beIN deal and a terrible WTA website overhaul in his brief tenure. “We are investing heavily to develop a strong digital eco-system that caters for the new ways fans are consuming WTA related content. Our goal is to provide fans the means to follow the tour and to watch WTA matches on the best screen available to them.”
And to squeeze out that cash.
The best screens available lately are ESPN3, streaming live, free coverage of the ATP Atlanta event this week, and Tennis Channel shows lots of men’s tennis but very little women’s due to the terrible beIN deal.
Unless you get beIN Sports, you’re not seeing any of the two WTA tournaments this week. Even if you do have beIN Sports, the prime coverage is on the pay-tier beIN Sports 9, beIN Sports 10, etc. packages.
People used to wonder how tennis would fare years back when it was taken off the major networks and relegated ESPN and cable networks. Now you can figure out how women’s tennis will fare when the majority is taken off cable and available primarily only on pay networks, except for the Grand Slams and some US Open Series events. The pro-argument is a new generation watching on phones and other screens — but will they pay to watch?
Sounds like a recipe for further lowering the viewership of women’s tennis, at least in the U.S. Soon you can group those ratings with racquetball and poker. Actually you’ll probably hope you can get poker ratings.
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