NBC, ESPN Won’t Play Wimbledon in HD

Jun 28, 2007  •  Post A Comment

It seems the only people getting a clear shot at this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championship may be the players. Both NBC and ESPN will continue to air the event in standard definition, not hi-def.
NBC has exclusive broadcast network rights to broadcast the tournament, which was watched in more than 2 million homes last year.
The network declined to comment on why it isn’t offering the championship in high-definition. However, an NBC Sports spokeswoman said the network plans to offer its Wimbledon coverage in HD starting next year.
ESPN declined to comment on whether it has plans to air Wimbledon in HD in the future.
Because ESPN2 HD has Wimbledon matches listed on its schedule, there has some been confusion about whether the network actually will be airing the championship in hi-def.
ESPN spokesman Dave Nagle said the ESPN2 HD scheduling amounted to a miscommunication.
“We’ve never done any tennis majors in high-definition,” Mr. Nagle said. “The event will be aired in widescreen, but not HD.”
Mr. Nagle said the network’s lineup of HD offerings has grown tremendously this year.
Bruce Leichtman, principal and president of Leichtman Research, thinks the decision to forego HD is most likely business-related.
“Any sport is going to look better in HD,” he said. “I would think tennis is easier to shoot than other sports, so it’s probably an economic decision.”
NBC and ESPN likely will be airing the Wimbledon championship for a while. As first reported by TelevisionWeek, NBC and ESPN are finalizing multiyear renewal deals with the All England Lawn Tennis Club for future coverage.
The Wimbledon Tennis Championship began June 25 and concludes July 8.


  1. Too bad…as the BBC, who supplies all of the actual tennis match camera feeds for all the broadcasters is using HD cameras and will broadcast in the UK in HD. At least ESPN-HD2 will offer the widescreen downconversion of the HD feed, and while certainly not “HD”, should look much sharper being broadcast on the digital channels.
    As for NBC, while they have been doing a lot of “catch up” recently in HD, they are not usually at the forefront of any HD development. I’m sure that General Sarnoff (the “Godfather” of color TV at RCA/NBC) is turning over in his grave!

  2. Considering that both network claim to have expanded coverage, what that they have chosen to show has been pathetic. During the rain delays, they have televised in the States the same matches over and over again. Boring. They could have covered more of the outer court games which could have provided for more variety of match shown. The coverage sucked. Watching this coverage was like watching tv with a remote control surfing junkie, 1 minute on this, 1 minute on that. If I had paid for this programming, I would be asking for my money back. The French open was much better. The Tennis Channel did a much better job of covering and televising all the matches.

  3. Nicely said.

  4. I agree.

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