Tennis on the blue courts, feeling blue

Published September 16, 2023

A rendering of an empty blue tennis hard court within a stadium, with bright lights shining down

The US Open drew to a conclusion last week with a new champion on the women’s side and the same old champ on the men’s side. I wish I could say I watched and enjoyed it all but I didn’t… the only way I managed to keep up with it was to have a copy of the draws, and read the news and scores each day to keep track.

It’s always tricky to watch the US Open in the UK, the time difference makes it a challenge and the broadcaster has to allow for plenty of replays and on demand matches to make it worth the effort. Unfortunately for us, Sky had the broadcast rights for the US Open this year, in preparation for them reportedly taking over rights for the entire WTA next year.

Sky has a variety of ways to subscribe - the dish, the box, and my preferred option, Now TV streaming. The only way to watch the tennis on this final option was with live streams on a dedicated tennis channel (a renamed Sky Arena) and one or two on demand matches that didn’t seem to have rhyme or reason for being the chosen ones. I’m not usually awake to watch the live streams and that leaves 99% of the action inaccessible.

Now, in my head, I’m trying to be generous. This is their first attempt at broadcasting the sport, perhaps they weren’t geared up to host all the replays on demand and maybe it’s their intention to sort that out ahead of next year. Also, I’m not oblivious to the fact that the coverage via Amazon Prime Video is outstanding - dedicated replays of every single match, available separately on demand. The ONLY downside to Prime’s coverage is that occasionally when you move from week to week and tournament to tournament the old one disappears to make way for the new one. Smallest of complaints.

A sports pass on Now TV is a pretty expensive option, which would be worthwhile if it was as accessible as our current hosts, but if it means paying more to get less, it’s not going to happen. The only hope now is that they’ve learnt lessons from the US Open adventure, because I know I’m not the only one complaining about it!

Along with an uncertain broadcast future, the news that Halep has been handed a four year ban makes me sad. Maybe tennis and I are going on a break for a while… what’s golf coverage like?

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