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ESPN’s Australian Open coverage leaves tennis fans lost and poorer

ESPN’s Australian Open coverage leaves tennis fans lost and poorer

It is bad enough that in the name of business, consumers are being asked to pay for cable and a streaming service.

As it is, to watch the Australian Open, you need cable and ESPN+. As part of your cable bill you are paying around $10 per month. For ESPN+, you are forking over nearly $7 per month. It is quite a lark, charging twice for the same product. 

But this is where a lot of things are going, for richer or for poorer – and, make no mistake sports fans, will be poorer. But then you have to be able to find the matches. ESPN has the Open on its networks, ESPN3 and ESPN+.

And, on Wednesday night, nowhere.

That evening, tennis fans could not locate the Taylor Fritz-Frances Tiafoe match. It wasn’t viewable on the ESPN+ feed that usually gives fans the option of watching any court of their choosing. Maybe if ESPN charged people a third time, it would have been easier.

ESPN+'s Australian Open pageESPN+’s Australian Open pageESPN

“(Wednesday) night, a combination of factors led to certain matches being unavailable on ESPN+,” ESPN said in a statement. “One of those matches – Fritz vs. Tiafoe – should have been covered live in full on one of our platforms. 

“We have addressed the issue and our plan is to ensure all matches are available live going forward. The combination of ESPN+ and our networks, including ESPN3, increases our ability to deliver comprehensive coverage of tennis majors and bring more tennis to fans.” 

NBC had a similar issue during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where it felt like another event to locate what you are looking for. This time around, in Beijing, NBC says all the coverage will be located on Peacock. This makes sense from a business perspective, as these networks are largely about driving people to pay for these new platforms. When you do that, though, you have to give them value and, a big part, is making it easy for viewers. 

No more double-faults.