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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Scheduling Wimbledon Across Platforms Showcases ESPN's Versatility And Appeal To Fans – espnfrontrow.com

They say it’s tough to be all things to all people, but with ESPN’s arsenal of platforms – broadcast with ABC, cable channels including ESPN Deportes, and streaming – our Wimbledon presentation does the trick.
In this, ESPN’s 10th year of exclusively presenting The Championships, there are more than 600 matches across 18 courts to cover, including every division – Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Singles and Doubles, Mixed Doubles, Juniors Singles, and Doubles, plus the Legends and Wheelchair competitions.
That’s a lot of tennis!
“There’s so much content, it lends itself to a multi-platform approach,” says Freddy Rolon, Senior Vice President, programming and scheduling, who compares it to ESPN’s MegaCast of the College Football Playoff Championship, but with a difference.
“It’s a natural MegaCast, except it’s different matches on different platforms, not alternative productions of the same event,” he explains.
This year, ABC is adding live coverage for the first time in its long and storied sports history. ABC will have matches from 1 – 4 p.m. ET this Saturday and Sunday.
With the start of the second week on Monday, ESPN brings back its unprecedented “Cross-Court Coverage.” Both ESPN and ESPN2 are live all day.
“That’s where the fun begins,” says Rolon, “when top players start facing off.”
To decide which matches will appear on linear versus ESPN+ or ESPN3, Rolon relies on his tennis experts on the ground in SW19 – John Suchenski, director, Programming and Acquisitions, and Paola Molina, senior manager, Programming.
Molina understands the need to provide a strong product to all platforms.
“We want well-known names on the linear screen, but also good, quality matches on ESPN+ to drive subscriptions. For fans of a particular player who may not receive as much coverage as others, ESPN+ is their option.”
Each day, the duo works with the All England Club on scheduling, submitting a list of requests for which players they want to play on certain courts and when. They have a continuous dialogue with the Club as the schedule takes shape.
“We give suggestions, and they take them into consideration,” Molina says. “We’re one of their largest partners, sending Wimbledon to Canada and Latin America in addition to the U.S.”
Once the schedule is set, Suchenski and Molina then work with Jamie Reynolds, Vice President, Production, to map out a coverage plan for ESPN’s 10+ hours of linear TV and for ESPN+ and ESPN3. To do so, they follow the storylines closely.
ESPN’s programming slate is bigger than ever, but as Rolon puts it, “For these two weeks, Wimbledon is center stage. We’re prioritizing tennis.”
For more information on ESPN’s Wimbledon coverage, visit ESPN Press Room.
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