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Front & Center: Overseer of all-platform Wimbledon coverage discusses approach

A screen shot of ESPN3.com's Wimbledon coverage. (ESPN)
ESPN3.com is one of several ways to get comprehensive Wimbledon coverage (ESPN)

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In 2011, when ESPN acquired the exclusive U.S. rights to Wimbledon – a 12-year agreement that took effect last year – the headlines focused on ESPN-TV. Jason Bernstein knew the reality would be – and would have to be – much more involved.

Screen shot 2013-06-24 at 11.33.41 AM

As Senior Director, Programming & Acquisitions, Bernstein oversees ESPN’s tennis business — the acquisition and scheduling of content and working with rightsholders to maximize the relationship.

An important aspect of his job description is to ensure the content ESPN has acquired is distributed over ESPN’s many platforms across media, in multiple languages and around the world.

Jason Bernstein (ESPN)
Jason Bernstein (ESPN)

After all, there isn’t just one ESPN, there’s many ESPNs — ESPN.com, iTV, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, espnW and more.

The truly innovative scheduling enhancement was “cross court coverage” – ESPN and ESPN2 on the air simultaneously to cover the many key matches during the second Monday-Wednesday of the fortnight. The days of tape delays and missing quarterfinal matches entirely were over.

But a year ago – as happens sometimes in London – rain interrupted these best-laid plans. Only the enclosed Centre Court was used on “the greatest day in tennis,” the second Monday when all players in the Round of 16 take the court.

This year, however, the weather permitted the true potential of cross court coverage to be fulfilled. It was a day of Wimbledon like never before for U.S. fans.

Bernstein spoke to Front Row from Wimbledon to reflect on how ESPN’s vision has become reality, the powerful supplement of ESPN3 to the linear television offering, and how the ESPN tennis team supplies content across ESPN platforms.

Dave Nagle contributed to this post

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