ESPN HistoryTennisThrowback

#TBT: ESPN and Wimbledon continue to serve each other well

(L to R) ESPN's Hannah Storm, Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver report during the126th staging of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon in 2012. (Allen Kee/ESPN Images).
(L to R) ESPN’s Hannah Storm, Chrissie Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver report during the 126th staging of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon in 2012. (Allen Kee/ESPN Images).

Aside from SportsCenter reports (see below), ESPN’s coverage of Wimbledon began in 2003 when it acquired rights for nearly 120 hours of original programming — at the time, the most hours dedicated to the event by any American network in history.

“40-Love”: Anniversary of Evert’s magical summer

Read more about ESPN tennis analyst Chrissie Evert, a three-time Wimbledon winner who is part of the network’s coverage again this year. This summer marks 40 years since she was on her way to becoming Sports Illustrated’s “Sportswoman Of The Year.”

For its 10th Wimbledon in 2012, ESPN presented complete, live and exclusive coverage from first ball through to the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Championships — 140 live hours in high definition, including three days when ESPN and ESPN2 joined forces for all-day “Cross Court Coverage” (airing matches simultaneously), plus highlights and reairs of both Finals on ABC. In addition, ESPN3 offered more than 800 hours of a multi-screen offering – all available TV courts (up to nine) presented from first ball to last ball each day, which will be available along with ESPN and ESPN2’s action via the WatchESPN app.

In 2016, ESPN will present 140 hours on TV and now no fewer than 1,500 on WatchESPN as the number of televised courts has grown to 15. The action began this past Monday, June 27, and will culminate with the Ladies’ Championship and the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Doubles Championships on ESPN on Saturday, July 9, and the Gentlemen’s Championship on Sunday, July 10, followed by the Mixed Doubles Championship.

#TBT2: SportsCenter at Wimbledon, 20 years ago today
(L-R)  SportsCenter correspondent Brett Haber, tennis analyst Betsy Nagelsen and producer Willie Weinbaum take a break from reporting from Wimbledon on June 30, 1996. (Photo courtesy of  Betsy Nagelsen)
(L-R) SportsCenter correspondent Brett Haber, tennis analyst Betsy Nagelsen and producer Willie Weinbaum take a break from reporting from Wimbledon on June 30, 1996.
(Photo courtesy of Betsy Nagelsen)

ESPN producer Willie Weinbaum uncovered this vintage photo above of working with his colleagues at Wimbledon exactly 20 years ago today.

He writes: “[This picture is] from back in the days when we we were [at Wimbledon] specifically for SportsCenter. We would attend pressers, get a tape of them from the BBC, sometimes do interviews off the grounds (not allowed to bring our own camera onto the grounds), shoot on-camera segments in London, race to ABC to feed (if we missed our once-a-day window, we were up the creek). We covered Week 2.

“As time went on, we would shoot just off the grounds, have a truck and could go live.

“The photo is of correspondent Brett Haber, analyst Betsy Nagelsen and me (a producer). It was exactly 20 years ago!

“Others who did on-air work with me in the years to come were correspondent Sal Paolantonio, analyst Luke Jensen, analyst Pam Shriver and Curry Kirkpatrick (features).”

EDITOR’S NOTE: ESPN VP SportsCenter & News, Storytelling Unit, Craig Lazarus and David Brofsky, senior coordinating producer, also produced segments from Wimbledon working with the likes of Robin Roberts, who is now a Good Morning America co-anchor.

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