The summer tennis tournament
Published July 4, 2018
I have, during the course of writing on this blog, mentioned many times the ways and means I am enjoying Wimbledon - whether that is indulging in endless TV and radio streams, analysing what options are available on various app stores, or even being lucky enough to attend the tournament itself.
This year, I am firmly back in my armchair, and have even indulged in a couple of days off work to ensure I capture as much of the opening matches as I possibly can.
That begins with the wonder that is The Wimbledon Channel. Their main radio stream is wonderful, featuring a rotation of hosts and guests, analysts and pundits, plenty of fun and games and interactive thought-provoking questions and quizzes, and, of course, most importantly of all, tournament-wide coverage. There are play-by-play streams for Centre Court and Court 1, but if you want to keep on top of everything that’s happening, then this is the radio stream for you.
On top of that, you’ve got the BBC’s excellent coverage. BBC and Wimbledon go hand-in-hand, naturally, but this year it feels like there’s even more to watch than ever. The action tends to get underway just before midday, and if you head on to the iPlayer, you’re confronted with many, many individual court streams to choose from. At one point, there were 14 different possibilities. There’s also the main television coverage, with Sue Barker, Clare Balding and the lovely Lee McKenzie holding the fort.
So, radio in one ear, tv coverage on the big screen, and an iPlayer stream on my mobile device. Is that enough? I don’t think so!
It’s not unique and has probably been around for a while, but this year I’ve been loving the official Wimbledon app’s ability to track your favourite players and give you updates about when they’re about to start playing, and how they’re getting on. You get notifications that they are warming up, that the match is about to start, as each set goes one way or the other, and the result at the end of it. My only complaint would be perhaps a bit more warning, and some court info, so you can track down the players before it all gets underway. But when you’re following as many players as I’m trying to, these notifications are priceless.
And talking of apps, it’s great that Wimbledon have gone all out and have a dedicated Apple TV app - not many people do, in fact not all TV broadcasters do, let alone a two-week sports tournament. That app has the aforementioned Wimbledon Channel, as well as highlights and scores. It also features a photo montage that unfortunately has oddly shaped stretched pictures - good idea, bad execution - and there’s no main coverage of matches, as obviously the broadcast rights lie elsewhere.
The iOS app has a few niggles - it asks you every time if you are going to be visiting Wimbledon, where this is a setting that surely only needs asking once. It also has a metric/imperial toggle on every stats page, where this could also be a setting people only choose once. The scrolling can be a bit janky, and the Today widget doesn’t function if you try and interact with it.
But those are small negatives against a tournament that is consistently upping its game in terms of coverage, bringing fans into the bubble that is otherwise pretty hard to get into, and keeping up the excitement even when some of the bigger names drop out early. I’ve been writing about Wimbledon coverage for at least ten years, and somehow, it is still just as fresh as if this was my first ever post. Great job, Wimbles, bring on the strawberries!