via press release:

Tennis’ First Major of 2012 – The Australian Open – Starts Sunday

The Start of another Grand Slam Year on ESPN with 100+ Hours on ESPN2 HD, 600 on ESPN3, Coverage across Digital Platforms & Around the World


Tennis’ first Major of 2012 – the Australian Open presented by Franklin Templeton Investments, where the year’s storylines on both the men’s and women’s side will begin to unfold – gets underway down under when ESPN2 HD, ESPN3 and ESPN’s digital platforms present some of the longest scheduled live telecast windows of the year in sports, starting Sunday, Jan. 15.  Under the terms of a new 10-year agreement taking effect, ESPN2 again will televise more than 100 live hours, plus afternoon highlights and replays from overnight action.  The telecasts are also available through WatchESPN online at and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.  Expanded digital coverage includes 600 hours on ESPN3, all live, with users choosing between action on seven courts with all matches available on-demand after completion.


Play begins in Melbourne with a 12.5-hour telecast on ESPN2 and ESPN3 starting Sunday, Jan. 15, at 6:30 p.m. ET.  Late-night marathons will continue through the women’s and men’s finals live at 3 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, and Sunday, Jan. 29, (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.


New Agreement Takes Effect

The 2012 Australian Open marks the beginning of a 10-year agreement between ESPN and Tennis Australia that extends ESPN’s multimedia through 2021 and international coverage through 2016.  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, announced in 2010, includes all ESPN platforms.  It continues the extensive ESPN2 schedule, Spanish-language U.S. rights and distribution in Latin America via ESPN International (2012-16).  It also includes expanded rights for ESPN3, iTV (interactive television), and highlights on and other emerging and digital media, including ESPN Mobile TV, solidifying ESPN’s position as the leader in live tennis coverage.


Intrigue in Both Draws

Two-time champion Novak Djokovic – coming off one of the finest seasons in tennis history – will defend the men’s title as the top seed against a stellar field topped by No. 2 seed and 2009 winner Rafael Nadal and No. 3 and three-time champion Roger Federer.  Andy Murray seeks his first major title at No. 4 as does David Ferrer at No. 5.


Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki leads the women’s field, and No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova will try to continue her 2011 success, winning Wimbledon and the WTA Tour Championship.  Victoria Azarenka is No. 3, the 2008 champion, Maria Sharapova, is No. 4, the 2011 French Open winner Li Na is No. 5, and local favorite Sam Stosur is No. 6, hoping to win her second straight major title, having taken the 2011 US Open.  Last year’s women’s champion, Kim Clijsters, is playing for the first time in more than six months and is seeded No. 12.  Right behind her at No. 13 is Serena Williams, a five-time Aussie winner, who is also returning to action after an extended injury layoff, having last competed in the US Open final.



Cliff Drysdale – who has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in 1979 – leads the ESPN2 team.  Chris Evert, who joined ESPN last year for Wimbledon and the US Open, will make her Australian Open debut.  Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver return as analysts.  Chris Fowler will again host and call select matches, with Chris McKendry also hosting.  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, plus at least three hours of same-day action the next weekday afternoon at 12 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 ESPN3, 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 and customized graphics.   Features include interactive data, the tournament draw, up-to-date scores, daily order of play, and social media interaction.  A studio host has been added 2012, SportsCenter anchor Steve Weissman will provide updates and news from around the tournament, across each of the five additional channels.


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+ will air over 30 hours of live complementary coverage in primetime throughout the early rounds, while ESPN Dos and ESPN Brazil will re-air some of the best matches of the day during the first week of action.


ESPN Classic is airing 57 hours of memorable Australian Open matches from the past as well as interview shows and other tennis programming this week.  Highlights include:


Wed, Jan 11

7 p.m. — 1992 Men’s Final: Jim Courier tops Stefan Edberg in four sets

11 p.m. — 1995 Men’s Final: Andre Agassi outlasts Pete Sampras


Thur, Jan 12

7:30 p.m. — Up Close Classics: Arthur Ashe

11 p.m. — 2003 Women’s Final: Serena Williams defeats sister Venus 7-6, 3-6, 6-4


Fri, Jan 13

7:30 a.m. — Schaap One on One: Martina Navratilova

1 p.m. — 2009 Men’s Final: Rafael Nadal wins a five-set marathon over Roger Federer


ESPN On Demand will offer a variety of programming before, during, and after the 2012 Australian Open. Highlights of past finals are available through January 31 (men’s from 1995, 2009, 2010, and 2011 and women’s from 2010 and 2011).  A recap of each of this year’s Women’s and Men’s Finals will also be offered through February 13.



ESPN3 will again provide coverage of no fewer than eight live feeds (including a simulcast of ESPN2’s live coverage) from various courts – including the women’s and men’s semifinals and finals – nearly 600 hours.  For the first 11 days (Sun., Jan. 15 – Wed., 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, ESPN3 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.  For the first time, fans can access ESPN3 feeds from


Each window also will be available for on-demand replay following completion.  With ESPN3’s dynamic interface, fans will be able to fast-forward, rewind and pause action – during on-demand replay and live action.


ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually and accessible online via  It is currently available to approximately 70 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.  The network 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.  It is also accessible through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app through an affiliated provider. will once again feature Courtcast, a cutting-edge application presented by IBM, featuring official IBM tournament and real-time statistics, Hawk-Eye technology, a rolling Twitter feed, Cover It Live analysis and interactive poll questions. Slam Central, an aggregation of all the day’s top news, analysis, blogs and video, as well as a daily Digital Serve and At This Minute video segments with commentators in Melbourne discussing the results, 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”; 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 11 countries throughout Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Honduras, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Panama).


ESPN Mobile TV, a 24/7 channel for wireless, will provide 113 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, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended added in a 12-year agreement starting in 2012.


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.


In addition, broadband network ESPN3, 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 and WTA Premier Events, and season-ending championships for both tours.  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.  ESPN 3D aired its first tennis at Wimbledon in 2011.



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

Therefore, the listing for Sun., Jan. 15 at 3 a.m. ET is very late on Sunday night.)


Date Time (ET) Event  
Sun, Jan 15 6:30 p.m. – 3 a.m. Early round play LIVE
  3 – 7 a.m. LIVE
Mon, Jan 16 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
  3 – 7 a.m. LIVE
Tue, Jan 17 Noon – 3 p.m. Same-day
  9 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
  3 – 7 a.m. LIVE
Wed, Jan 18 Noon – 3 p.m. Same-day
  11 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
  3 – 7 a.m. LIVE
Thur, Jan 19 Noon – 3 p.m. Same-day
  11 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
  3 – 7 a.m. LIVE
Fri, Jan 20 Noon – 3 p.m. Same-day
  9 p.m. – 3 a.m. LIVE
  3 – 7 a.m. LIVE
Sat, Jan 21 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Round of 16 LIVE
  3 – 7 a.m. LIVE
Sun, Jan 22 11 a.m.  – 3 p.m. Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. LIVE
Mon, Jan 23 Noon – 3 p.m. Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. LIVE
Tue, Jan 24 Noon – 3 p.m. Same-day
9 p.m. – 2 a.m. LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. LIVE
Wed, Jan 25 Noon – 3 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 26 Noon – 3 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 reair
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 27 Noon – 3 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 reair
  3 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Final LIVE
Sat, Jan. 28 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 29 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Men’s Final reair
  9 p.m.–MID Men’s Final reair





Date Time (ET) Event  
Sun, Jan 15 6:30 p.m. – 3 a.m. Early round play LIVE
Mon, Jan 16- Mon, Jan 23 3 – 7 a.m. and
7 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Early round play LIVE
Mon, Jan 23 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals LIVE
Tue, Jan 24- Wed, Jan 25 3:30 – 6 a.m. Quarterfinals LIVE
  7 – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals LIVE
Wed, Jan 25 9:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. Women’s Semifinals LIVE
Thurs, Jan 26 11 p.m. – 3:30 a.m. Mixed Doubles SF/Women’s Doubles Finals LIVE
  3:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 LIVE
Fri, Jan 27 3:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 LIVE
  9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Girls and Boys Singles Finals LIVE
Sat, Jan. 28 5:30 – 7:30 a.m. Men’s Doubles Final LIVE
  3 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Final LIVE
Sat, Jan. 29 12:30 – 2:30 a.m. Mixed Doubles Final LIVE
  3 – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Final LIVE
Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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