Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Hats off to the BBC

I've been meaning to write about one of the true stars of Wimbledon fortnight, the BBC. FreakyFrites at Gototennis has written about her understandable frustrations with the US networks eccentric scheduling.

But no can accuse the BBC of not doing a first class job. Their 'multi platform' (sorry, I'm a sucker for media jargon) coverage was superb.The action was covered live on TV, Radio 5, and online at BBC.co.uk with realtime text commentary.

The TV coverage was interactive so viewers had the choice of up to 5 matches. This worked really well. For example on the Friday night at the end of first week when two seeds were on centre court (I'll be honest I can't remember who) but I wanted to watch Safin v Seppi who were playing at the same time.

The tennis was also broadcasted in high def on the BBC's HD Channel. The best thing about this was that when play finished in the evening the HD channel played re-runs of the day's best game(s).

Not highlights but full ball by ball re-runs. So those of us who have to work were able to watch Federer and Venus and co in glorious HD when we got home.

I spent more time in the car listening to the radio than I did watching tennis on TV. And this is where the BBC rule, with Michael Stich sparking off Jonathan Overend and Todd Woodbridge.

And the icing on the cake was McEnroe. His commentating, along with his analysis on the today at Wimbledon highlights show, plus his 6-0-6 phone in were all pure class.

The BBC is a bit of a soft target at times - and let's be honest its far from perfect - but big, blue ribbon, sporting events, like Wimbledon, the Olympics and the World Cup, is when it comes into its own.


freakyfrites said...

Hey Steve - I'm really jealous of your BBC coverage! Did you like Tim Henman's commentary? I'd have loved to hear him talk about Roger and Murray. And was Boris Becker on?

Maybe I've been spoiled with too much Johnny Mac (he does commentary for NBC on the weekends), because I'm tiring of him. He talks too much during points, and goes off on irrelevant historical tangents instead of focusing on the match. Perhaps the BBC is more strict about talking over the play?

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