via press release:

Two-Week Australian Open Begins Sunday

SpiderCam to Make DownUnder Debut

Tennis’ first Grand Slam of the year will again keep fans up late for the action down under as ESPN2 HD and again present live daily marathons of late-night action from Australian Open 2011 presented by Franklin Templeton Investments from Melbourne, starting Sunday, Jan. 16.  ESPN2 has a record schedule of 124 live hours, plus nearly 50 additional in afternoon reairs, the most in ESPN’s 27-year history with the event.  Broadband will offer 600 hours, all live, with users choosing between action on seven courts with all matches available on-demand after completion.

Play begins with the first match of the tournament on ESPN2 and on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. ET and will continue through the women’s and men’s finals live in the early hours of Saturday, Jan. 29, and Sunday, Jan. 30, (very late on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively).  In addition, ESPN’s SportsCenter will provide live look-ins to the action during the 11 p.m. and late-night editions.  ESPN has televised the Australian Open since 1984 (there was no event in 1986), the French Open since 2002 (and 1986 – 1993), Wimbledon since 2003 and the US Open since 2009.

ESPN2’s telecasts will be enlivened by use of SpiderCam, an aerial camera which the network debuted at a Grand Slam tennis event last year at the US Open. Suspended by four thin Kevlar ropes connected to large winches via pulleys high above the court surface on light poles at the four corners of the arena, it moves in three dimensions.  It can be lowered to one meter off the court or raised to 33 meters high, from beyond one end of the court to the other and from side to side.  The camera can pan, tilt, zoom and focus, with the images sent via fiber optics wiring within the Kevlar roping.  It is used to take the viewer closer to the action and the athletes for walk-ons, changeovers, coin tosses, ceremonies and post-match interviews, as well as replays and even live action to advance the viewers’ understanding of the game.

New Agreement Begins Next Year

Last September, ESPN, Inc. and Tennis Australia reached a new 10-year extension that begins in 2012 and extends to 2021 of ESPN’s multimedia coverage of the Australian Open.  Having televised the Australian Open – including the women’s and men’s semifinals and finals exclusively – since 1984, this is ESPN’s longest uninterrupted professional sports programming relationship.

The new agreement includes all ESPN platforms.  It continues the extensive ESPN2 television coverage, Spanish-language U.S. rights for ESPN Deportes and distribution in Latin America via ESPN International (2012-16).  It also includes expanded rights for, iTV (interactive television), and highlights on and other emerging and digital media, including ESPN Mobile TV.


Cliff Drysdale – who has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in 1979 – and sportscasting legend Dick Enberg lead the ESPN2 team.  Chris Fowler will again host and call select matches, with Chris McKendry also hosting.  Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe return as analysts, as does Pam Shriver, who will primarily serve as a courtside and studio reporter.  Tom Rinaldi will contribute features, news and interviews during event coverage and on SportsCenter.

ESPN2’s Australian Open programming will generally consist of live action in the evening continuing uninterrupted for 10 or more hours until the next morning for the first eight days of the tournament (leading to memorable marathons, see “Great Moments” below), plus at least three hours of same-day action the next weekday afternoon at 3 p.m.  The tournament is part of ESPN’s ongoing Grand Slam alliance with Tennis Channel, which offers audiences a near round-the-clock tournament experience at tennis’ major events.  ESPN is producing all Australian Open coverage for both networks, which will cross-promote each other with each channel utilizing its own commentators.

ESPN Interactive TV, seen on DIRECTV and, will present the Australian Open with a six-screen “mix channel.”  For eight hours per night during the first eight days of the tournament, viewers will be able to watch the ESPN2 feed or one of five other courts, all with commentary.  Features include interactive data, the tournament draw, up-to-date scores, and daily order of play.  Additions for 2011 include custom graphics within the individual channels and a host studio.

ESPN VOD (Video On Demand) will offer a variety of programming before, during and after the 2010 Australian Open, starting with the 2011 Australian Open Preview Show.  Highlights of past finals are available through February 15 (men’s from 1995, 2009, and 2010 and women’s from 2010).  A recap of each of this year’s Women’s and Men’s Finals will also be offered through February 15.

ESPN International will deliver to the pan-regional ESPN networks in Latin America (including the HD networks) over 100 hours of coverage, showcasing the biggest names in tennis and players of local relevance. ESPN+ and ESPN Brazil will air approximately 30 hours of live complementary coverage in primetime throughout the early rounds.

ESPN Classic will allow fans to relive memorable Australian Open matches from the past as well as interview shows and other tennis programming.  A highlight is three matches that all took place on January 26 – in 1991, 1996 and 2001 – which will be replayed Wed., Jan. 26: Monica Seles’ first and fourth Australian Open titles (1991 and 1996), and Jennifer Capriati’s first Grand Slam title (2001).  See schedule below.

Date Time (ET) Event/Show
Tue, Jan 11 1 a.m. 1994 Men’s Final: Pete Sampras defeats Todd Martin
3 a.m. 1989 Women’s Final: Steffi Graf defeats Helena Sukova, a fifth straight Grand Slam title
8 a.m. Schaap One on One: Billie Jean King
8:30 a.m. Firestone Chats: Connors, McEnroe, King & Ashe
9 a.m. Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame Anna Kournikova for Never Winning a WTA Singles Title
9:30 a.m. Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame John McEnroe for his Repeated Outbursts
10 a.m. Homecoming with Rick Reilly: Billie Jean King
11 a.m. SportsCentury: Zina Garrison
8 p.m. 1995 Men’s Final: Andre Agassi outlasts Pete Sampras
10 p.m. 2002 Women’s Final: Jennifer Capriati saves four match points to defeat Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2
Wed, Jan 12 12 a.m. 1988 Women’s Final: Steffi Graf beats Chris Evert
2 a.m. 1991 Men’s Final: Boris Becker loses a set 1-6 but beats Ivan Lendl
8 a.m. Schaap One on One: Martina Navratilova, part one
8:30 a.m. Schaap One on One: Martina Navratilova, part two
8 p.m. 2003 Men’s Quarterfinal: Andy Roddick survives a marathon against Younes El Ayanoui 4-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 21-19
Thur, Jan 13 1 a.m. 1992 Men’s Final: Jim Courier tops Stefan Edberg in four sets
3 a.m. 1991 Women’s Final: Monica Seles wins her first title downunder, over Jana Novotna
8 a.m. Up Close Classics: Jimmy Connors
8:30 a.m. Up Close Classics: Arthur Ashe
8 p.m. 2005 Men’s Semifinal: Marat Safin upsets Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 9-7
Thur, Jan 14 1 a.m. 2000 Men’s Semifinal: Agassi wins a classic over Sampras 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), 6-1
8 a.m. 2009 Men’s Semifinals: Rafael Nadal takes an epic five-hour match over Fernando Verdasco  , 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4
1 p.m. 2009 Men’s Final: Nadal survives a second straight marathon, defeating Federer for the title 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2
6 p.m. 2010 Women’s Final: Serena Williams ties Billie Jean King’s record for major titles with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win over Justine Henin
10 p.m. 2003 Women’s Final: Serena takes the title from her sister Venus 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4
Wed, Jan 26 10 a.m. 1996 Women’s Final: Monica Seles triumphs in return from stabbing to defeat Anke Huber for her fourth Australian Open championship, on Jan. 26, 1996
1:30 p.m. 2001 Women’s Final: Jennifer Capriati upsets top-seeded Martina Hingis for her first Grand Slam title
7 p.m. 1991 Women’s Final: Monica Seles wins her first title downunder, over Jana Novotna

DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD will again provide broadband coverage of no fewer than seven live feeds (including a simulcast of ESPN2’s live coverage) from various courts – including the women’s and men’s semifinals and finals – totaling 600 hours.  For the first 10 days (Sun., Jan. 16 – Tues., Jan. 25), coverage will commence at 7 p.m. (11 a.m. in Melbourne, when play begins) and continue for at least seven hours.  The courts to be included are the “TV courts,” the ones most likely to have top matches:  Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena, Margaret Court Arena, plus Courts 2, 3, 6 and 8.  For the remainder of the tournament, will continue the ESPN2 simulcast, including the women’s (Jan. 28) and men’s (Jan. 29) finals, plus exclusive coverage of select men’s, women’s and mixed doubles play and the boys’ and girls’ finals.

Each window also will be available for on-demand replay following completion.  With’s dynamic interface, fans will be able to fast-forward, rewind and pause action – during on-demand replay and live action. is ESPN’s live sports broadband network, a 24/7 online destination that delivers thousands of live, global sports events annually.  It is available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. is available in more than 65 million homes via dozens of Internet and cable TV service providers nationwide, including Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Charter, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and many more. 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. will once again feature Slam Central, an aggregation of all the day’s top news, analysis, blogs and video, as well as a daily Digital Serve video segment with commentators in Melbourne discussing the the results.  The Pulse, a cutting-edge application with real-time scoring, Hawk-Eye technology, live statistical breakdowns of every match, a rolling Twitter feed, Cover It Live analysis and interactive poll questions, will be a daily staple.  News and analysis from contributors Ravi Ubha and writers will add to the depth of coverage.  During the second week of play, the staff will interact with fans via live blogging. will have the following content:  A daily webisode called “ESPiaNdo el Australian Open” with Eduardo Varela; an “applet” featuring real-time, point-by-point scoring of all matches; live scores, results and brackets; columns, chats and blogs by TV commentators and other writers; polls; the “Ask ESPN” feature, prompting users to send their comments/questions via the website; video clips with highlights of daily action and analysis; TV scheduling information, and photo galleries.

ESPN International’s ESPN Play (ESPN 360 in Brazil) broadband service in Latin America will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the year’s first Grand Slam, airing over 600 hours of live tennis from every available televised court, including the men’s & women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, all live. This streaming action will be available in over two million homes in 12 countries throughout Latin America (Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama).

ESPN Mobile TV, a 24/7 channel for wireless, will provide 140 hours of live and simulcast coverage with ESPN2’s programming schedule.

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, now in 65 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, and ESPN The Magazine.

Great Moments Down Under on ESPN Networks

  • Helena Sukova upsets Martina Navratilova 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the 1984 Australian Open semifinals, ending Navratilova’s record 74-match win streak and thwarting her attempt at a seventh consecutive Grand Slam title.
  • Andy Roddick’s epic 21-19 fifth set vs. Younes el-Aynaoui in the 2003 Australian Open quarterfinals.
  • ESPN2 airs the 2008 Australian Open live through two scheduled breaks, resulting in 14 hours, 43 minutes of consecutive live tennis (Friday at 9:54 p.m. – Saturday 12:37 p.m.), no doubt the longest live sports telecast in U.S. history.  It was followed by a scheduled reair until 5 p.m., resulting in 19+ straight hours of tennis.  The action was highlighted by three five-set matches:  James Blake 4-6, 2-6, 6-0, 7-6, 6-2 over Sebastien Grosjean; Roger Federer outlasting Janko Tipsarevic 6-7, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1, 10-8; and Lleyton Hewitt over Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-3 (ended at 4:32 a.m. in Melbourne).  The fifth sets were aired commercial-free.
  • At the 2009 Australian Open men’s semifinals, top-seeded Rafael Nadal outlasts fellow Spaniard #14 Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4, the longest match in tournament history (5:14).  Just 48 hours later, Nadal wins another five-setter, denying Federer a record-tying 14th Grand Slam title, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2.


(For these charts, all times are Eastern, and each day “begins” at 6 a.m. ET.

Therefore, the listing for Sun., Jan. 16 at 3 a.m. ET is very late on Sunday night.)

Date Time (ET) Event
Sun, Jan 16 6:30 p.m. – 3 a.m. Early round play LIVE
3 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Mon, Jan 17 3 – 6 p.m. Same-day
9 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
3 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Tue, Jan 18 3 – 7 p.m. Same-day
9 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
3 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Wed, Jan 19 3 – 7 p.m. Same-day
11 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
3 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Thur, Jan 20 3 – 7 p.m. Same-day
11 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
3 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Fri, Jan 21 3 – 7 p.m. Same-day
9 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
3 – 7:30 a.m. LIVE
Sat, Jan 22 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Same-day
9 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
3 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Sun, Jan 23 1  – 5 p.m. Same-day
7 p.m. – 3 a.m. Round of 16 LIVE
3:30 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Mon, Jan 24 3 – 7 p.m. Same-day
9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals LIVE
3:30 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Tue, Jan 25 3 – 7 p.m. Same-day
7 p.m. – 2 a.m. LIVE
3:30 – 8 a.m. LIVE
Wed, Jan 26 3 – 7 p.m. Same-day
9:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. Women’s Semifinals LIVE
3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 LIVE
Thurs, Jan 27 3 – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 reair
3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 28 3 – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 reair
3 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Final LIVE
Sat, Jan. 29 9 – 11 a.m. Women’s Final reair
10 p.m. – MID Women’s Final reair
3 – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Final LIVE
Sun, Jan 30 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Men’s Final reair
7 – 10 p.m. Men’s Final reair


Date Time (ET) Event
Sun, Jan 16 – 7 p.m. – 3 a.m. Early round play LIVE
Tue, Jan 25 3 – 8 a.m. – * LIVE
Wed, Jan 26 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals LIVE
9:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. Women’s Semifinals LIVE
3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 LIVE
Thurs, Jan 27 11 p.m. – 3:30 a.m. W.Doubles Final / Mixed Doubles Semifinal LIVE
3:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 28 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Boys’ and Girls’ Finals LIVE
Fri, Jan 28 3 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Final LIVE
Sat, Jan. 29 12:30 – 2 a.m. Mixed Doubles Final LIVE
3 – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Final LIVE

* – start time is 3:30 a.m. late on Sun., Jan. 23 – Tues., Jan. 25

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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