LONDON – Inspired perhaps by Wimbledon’s heritage as “Tennis in an English Garden,” this year ESPN has taken its coverage from here outside – at least at times with the new “Orchard Set” – perched atop Henman Hill (called by some younger fans at “Murray Mound”).
Actually, according to Vice President, Production Jamie Reynolds the concept – getting out of the studio – is the same as what proved so successful at last year’s US Open.
“With our new location in New York overlooking the practice court, we were ‘in the moment’ with the players and coaches in intimate and unguarded moments,” he said. “More than that, they even interacted with us.
“The ‘Orchard Set’ doesn’t, of course, provide that, but it does help convey the unique Wimbledon ambience and a contextual sense of place. It helps fulfill our constant desire to provide the viewer with ‘access and discovery’ behind the velvet rope.”
ESPN is sharing the set with the BBC, using it all day while the BBC uses it for its evening highlights show – all of it, of course, weather-permitting.
Terry Brady, director, remote production operations, said ESPN provides its own cameras and audio, sharing other equipment with the BBC. “The Club [AELTC] is always looking for new ways to showcase the property,” he said.
Chris McKendry is hosting ESPN’s fortnight of programming and likes the new location.
“It’s great,” she said. “It adds energy, and anything that adds energy is a good thing.”