Here’s ESPN’s coverage plans and announcers for 2011’s Wimbledon:
ESPN Adds to Extensive Wimbledon Coverage as Nadal, Serena Defend Titles
With the Rafael Nadal/Novak Djokovic/Roger Federer “trivalry” in full force, and a wide-open women’s field that likely will include the long-anticipated return from injury of the Williams Sisters, ESPN will deliver even more coverage and in more ways than ever of The Championships, Wimbledon across its expanding lineup of media platforms. These include added hours to its broadband, mobile and interactive TV offerings, the first tennis ever on ESPN 3D and the Wimbledon debut of the WatchESPN App. Fans will enjoy 100 hours in high definition on ESPN2 HD, and nearly 650 on broadband ESPN3.com beginning Monday, June 20, with daylong weekday coverage throughout the fortnight from the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.
Hall of Famer Chris Evert will make her ESPN debut at Wimbledon, joining returnees Cliff Drysdale and Dick Enberg, and analysts Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. Chris Fowler will call matches and serve as studio host, sharing that role with Hannah Storm. Tom Rinaldi will provide essays and features.
ESPN networks present all four Grand Slam events and have televised Wimbledon since 2003. ESPN3.com delivers unmatched broadband coverage of the sport’s four majors and all ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments.
Surveying the Fields
The men’s and women’s fields set up quite differently. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is ranked no. 1, but being pressed hard by Novak Djokovic (41-1 in 2011 and ranked no. 2 but has never won Wimbledon), and six-time champ Roger Federer at no. 3.
Among the women, Serena Williams is expected to defend her title despite not playing since last year’s tournament until this week’s tune-up event, and is likely to be joined in the field by her five-time champion sister Venus, who also has missed an extensive time for injury. Meanwhile, no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki leads a list of players seeking a first major victory, no. 2 Kim Clijsters has won three majors since her 2009 return to the sport, no. 4 Li Na comes to London fresh off a French Open title and a resurgent Maria Sharapova, no. 6, won in 2004.
Live Matches on ESPN2, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile & ESPN Interactive; ESPN 3D’s First Tennis
Fans will be able to follow the action live on a variety of ESPN platforms, depending on which screen best suits their needs – ESPN2, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile, the WatchESPN App and ESPN Interactive TV:
ESPN2 HD will begin daylong live weekday programming in high definition when the first ball goes into the air Monday, June 20, continuing daily through Friday, July 1. The schedule is again highlighted by one Ladies’ and one Gentlemen’s Semifinal, Thursday, June 30, and Friday, July 1, respectively. In addition, ESPN2 will air a one-hour SportsCenter at Wimbledon following NBC’s coverage of the Ladies Championship on Sat., July 2, at 2 p.m. ET and following the Gentlemen’s Championship on Sun., July 3 at 3 p.m.
On Monday, June 27 – Wednesday, June 29, ESPN2 will provide SportsCenter as alternate programming in the Pacific Time Zone from 1 – 4 p.m. ET (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT).
All the action on ESPN2 is also available online through ESPNnetworks.com, which is accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.
ESPN3.com will provide a multi-court offering with live play, including a simulcast of ESPN2’s coverage, from all nine TV courts plus press conferences totaling nearly 650 hours. In addition, the broadband service – which reaches nearly 70 million U.S. homes – will offer replays on demand of all four semifinals and both finals. The semifinals will be available at 8 p.m. the day they are contested (or shown live if live on ESPN2); the finals will both be available beginning late Sunday, July 3, at midnight (9 p.m. PT).
ESPN3.com is ESPN’s live sports broadband network, a 24/7 online destination that delivers thousands of live, global sports events annually. It is currently available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or cable TV video subscription from an affiliated service provider. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.
ESPN 3D, launched in 2010, will present its first tennis action with the Gentlemen’s Semifinals and both the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Finals. The two semifinals will be presented on a same-day basis, Friday, July 1, at 8 p.m. and later that night at 1 a.m. (10 p.m. PT). The Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Finals will be aired Monday, July 4, at 7 and 9 a.m., and repeated at 6 and 8 p.m.
The WatchESPN App, for fans with Apple or Android devices and who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Verizon FiOS TV, will present ESPN2’s live coverage, in addition to ESPN3.com’s multi-screen offering. Also, ESPN Mobile TV will carry over 77 hours of live coverage including the Men’s and Women’s Semifinal rounds, more than double 2010’s offering.
ESPN Interactive TV will be enjoyed exclusively on DIRECTV and extended this year by a day to include the first seven days of competition, culminating on the second Monday. The day, commonly referred to as “the best day in tennis” is when all singles participants — men and women – are in action in the round of 16. A six-screen mosaic will include the ESPN2 match and feeds from five individual courts. Production will be enhanced with press conferences, interviews and features elements that will be added during court changeovers and between matches. All six screens can be expanded to full screen mode or picture-in-picture at the touch of the remote button. In addition, DIRECTV will offer “Matches On Now,” a graphic across the bottom of the screen with scores from each of the matches currently on the court channels, with the ability to tune directly to the match, and “Results,” an instant look at real-time scores and schedule info for matches ahead – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching. In total, ESPN will provide more than 350 hours of coverage that is exclusive to interactive TV.
More Wimbledon from ESPN, Inc.
ESPN.com will have previews, reviews, the latest news and videos and more:
Courtcast: A multi-tool application with all-court scoring, match stats, Cover It Live conversations, poll questions, rolling Twitter feeds and scrolling bottom line;
Slam Central: A daily destination for all Wimbledon fixtures;
Grass Stains: A daily notebook wrapping up the best and worst of the day;
Digital Serve: Daily original videos previewing the next day;
Skype Hype: Instant video analysis of notable matches with Greg Garber;
Star Watch: Daily blog focusing on one of the game’s elite.
ESPN Classic is presenting great Wimbledon matches and other tennis programming today, Monday, June 13, through Friday, June 17, highlighted by:
Numerous championship matches, including Arthur Ashe defeating Jimmy Connors in 1975, Martina Navratilova beating Chris Evert in 1978 for the first of her nine titles, Bjorn Borg’s classic victory over John McEnroe in 1980, and two of the greatest matches in tennis history – Nadal over Federer with a 9-7 fifth set in 2008 and Federer defeating Andy Roddick 16-14 in the fifth set in 2009.
On Thursday, June 16, fans can relive the longest tennis match in history, John Isner outlasting Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set in last year’s first round. The 11:05 match which stretched across three days is condensed to nine hours, starting at 9 p.m.
Two airings of Unmatched, the documentary about the Evert-Navratilova rivalry and friendship, produced by ESPN’s Hannah Storm and part of the award-winning 30 for 30 series (late on Tuesday, June 14 at midnight and Friday, June 17 at 9 p.m.).
Tennis-related studio and interview programs such as Homecoming with Rick Reilly, Schaap One on One, SportsCentury, Up Close, Who’s #1? and Top Five Reasons.
In addition, on Monday, July 4, the 30th anniversary of the match, at 8 p.m. ESPN Classic will show the 1981 Gentlemen’s Final where John McEnroe ended Bjorn Borg’s historic streak of five consecutive championships. The full schedule of 70 hours.
ESPN Mobile will provide point-by-point coverage of every Wimbledon match with live scores on the ESPN mobile Web and ScoreCenter app. Additionally, the Wimbledon “Hot Corner” will bring fans closer to the action, supplying the latest news and analysis while giving fans the chance to interact with ESPN tennis experts through live chats from the two-week event via mobile devices. ESPN Alerts will notify fans across carriers of match results, in-progress upsets and Wimbledon news via opt-in tennis text alerts.
ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language network in the U.S. will televise live one men’s and one women’s semifinal on Thursday, June 30, and Friday, July 1, respectively, at 8 a.m. each day. Commentary for ESPN Deportes, as well as ESPN International, will be handled by Luis Alfredo Alvarez and Eduardo Varela alongside former tennis players Javier Frana and Jose Luis Clerc as analysts. Tennis reporter Gustavo Sgallo will report from Wimbledon for ESPN Deportes and ESPN International’s SportsCenter editions around the world.
ESPN International will reach 30 million viewers outside the U.S with 70+ live hours pan-regionally in Latin America on ESPN Latin America and on ESPN Caribbean, in addition to daily primetime highlight programs. ESPN+ in the Southern Cone and ESPN Dos in the Northern Cone will supplement the coverage on ESPN Latin America with an additional 50+ live hours. In addition, ESPN’s broadband service, ESPN Play, will offer over 600 hours of live coverage in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras and Venezuela.
ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003.
ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call and John McEnroe playing.
Almost all the tennis is found on ESPN2, giving the network the identity as the destination for tennis fans and giving the sport a home that is flexible enough to carry extensive live programming – and adding to the schedule as storylines dictate. In addition, broadband network ESPN3.com, now in nearly 70 million homes, carries thousands of hours of tennis annually, including all four Grand Slam events, plus ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments, usually with additional, exclusive matches. Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.
ESPN & WIMBLEDON 2011
Mon, June 20 – Fri., June 24 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Rounds Day 1-5 Live ESPN2 &ESPN3.com
Sat, June 25 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Early Rounds Day 6 Live ESPN2
7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Live ESPN3.com
Sun, June 26 5 – 8 p.m. Week One Highlights Taped ESPN2
Mon, June 27 7 – 10 a.m. Round of 16 Live ESPN2
1 – 6 p.m. – *7 a.m. – 4 p.m. LiveLive ESPN2ESPN3.com
Tues, June 28 7 – 10 a.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals Live ESPN2
1 – 5 p.m. – *7 a.m. – 4 p.m. LiveLive ESPN2ESPN3.com
Wed, June 29 7 – 10 a.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals Live ESPN2 &ESPN3.com
1 – 5 p.m. – * Live ESPN2 &ESPN3.com
Thur, June 30 7 a.m. – Noon7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinal LiveLive ESPN2ESPN3.com
8 – 10 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals Highlights Same day ESPN2
Fri, July 1 7 a.m. – Noon7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinal LiveLive ESPN2ESPN3.com
Sat, July 2- Sun, July 3
Mon, July 4
8 – 11 p.m.8 – 11 p.m..1 – 4 a.m.2 – 3 p.m.3 – 4 p.m.Midnight7 – 9 a.m. – #
9 a.m. – Noon – #
Noon – 3 p.m. – #
3 – 6 p.m. – #
6 – 8 p.m. – #
8 – 11 p.m. – #
Gentlemen’s Semifinals HighlightsGentlemen’s Semifinal #1Gentlemen’s Semifinal #2 SportsCenter at Wimbledon SportsCenter at Wimbledon
Ladies’ & Gentlemen’s Finals
Gentlemen’s Semifinal #1
Gentlemen’s Semifinal #2
Same daySame daySame daySame daySame dayTapedTaped
ESPN2ESPN 3DESPN 3DESPN2ESPN2ESPN3.comESPN 3D
* – Alternate programming from 1 – 4 p.m. ET in Pacific Time Zone (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT)
# – All time slots on ESPN 3D on July 4 will expand as needed.