03 July, 2011
NBC Called Out at Wimbledon
Just moments after the last balls were struck at the All England Club came the news that change wasn't only coming to the roll of honour at the All England Club with new men's and women's champions crowned this year, but that going forward the Championships would have a new broadcast home in the United States as well.
Sports Business Journal's John Ourand is reporting that next year, NBC, which has carried Wimbledon for the last 43 years, will no longer air the tournament. According to Ourand's tweets, a statement from the network read "We are proud of our 43-year partnership with the All England Club and while we would have liked to have continued our relationship, we were simply outbid."
NBC Sports triggered a stream of criticism throughout the tournament from tennis fans for their archaic reliance on tape delay in an internet era where scores and play-by-play recaps are instantly available. Additionally, the network chose to air its highly profitable Today morning show in lieu of one of the men's semifinal matches earlier this week, leading fans to instead find online streaming alternatives such as the network's website and Radio Wimbledon.
According to Sports Business Journal, ESPN is nearing a rights agreement that would allow the cable network the ability to air all the matches live on TV (some would also air via tape on ABC) as well as their digital and mobile platforms (ESPN3 and WatchESPN). An official announcement on the new partnership is expected as early as next week.