BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament postponed due to coronavirus

One of the bigger non-major tennis tournaments in the U.S., the BNP Paribas Open, has been postponed indefinitely this year due to a local confirmed case of the coronavirus in southern California.

In a post on the tournament’s website, officials said they are exploring options to hold the tournament on a later date, but have no set plan yet.

“We are very disappointed that the tournament will not take place, but the health and safety of the local community, fans, players, volunteers, sponsors, employees, vendors, and everyone involved with the event is of paramount importance,” said tournament director Tommy Haas, in a prepared statement. Here is the lead paragraph from the website page announcing the postponement:

The Riverside County Public Health Department has declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley after a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) locally. As a result, the 2020 BNP Paribas Open will not take place at this time due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the safety of the participants and attendees at the event. This is following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and State of California.

The BNP Paribas Open is the biggest sports event so far to be canceled or postponed due to the virus. Previously this year the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain, was canceled, as was the South by Southwest conference in Texas, which was scheduled for later this month.

In the sports world, the focus now shifts to the NCAA and its upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which are scheduled to begin next week. Among the options being talked about in news reports are holding games at fewer arenas, or holding games in empty stadiums. As of Sunday night, there was no definitive plan for the NCAA events.

Other observers are looking further ahead in the sports schedule and questioning whether the NFL should eliminate the fan presence from its annual draft. The 2020 draft, scheduled for late April in Las Vegas, had been expected to draw as many as 300,000 visitors to the event.

Stay tuned for more news as we are sure this will become somewhat of a daily thing as the virus spreads.

ESPN has Big Month of Tennis Broadcasts


With several important tennis events in the next few weeks ESPN will be featuring a total of 14 consecutive days of broadcasts as the tennis world ramps up for the big clay court event at the end of the month, the French Open.

The preliminaries are the ATP World Tour event, the Mutua Madrid Open that is being held in Madrid, and which started this morning and run until Sunday, May 12. Of course with the time zone difference the events will be mostly very early morning viewing for American fans who can tune into ESPN3 for the matches. The championship broadcast will start at 10:00 am ET on the 12th.

Among the top players participating in the Mutua Madrid Open are some of the top ranked men and women players in the world including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na.

This will be followed by the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, with some of the schedule still undecided at this time. This tournament, held in Rome, will start on May 13 and continue until the championship broadcast on Sunday, May 19 at 10 am ET.

Overall the network will feature 200 hours of tennis broadcasting from those two tournaments, and this will all naturally lead into the French Open later in the month. The outcome of these earlier tournaments helps dictate rankings of that and other Grand Slam events that will also be broadcast on ESPNs network of channels and online properties. ESPN will be broadcasting the French Open on ESPN2 starting Sunday, May 26.

ESPN to Broadcast All Wimbledon Matches

Wimbledon is here, the one grass court championship in the Grand Slam pantheon. One of the most watched, if not the top tennis tournament of the circuit is about to begin, with qualifying for unseeded players occurring last week. The tournament will run from June 25 to July 8 this year.

There will be much to watch for during the two week tournament. Will Roger Federer win a record tying 7th Men’s Singles title? Will the Williams sisters return to form and dominate? Will the torrential rainstorms that flooded much of northern England move south rather than east?

The event is held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and the seedings are in, with a few surprises. On the Men’s side Novak Djokovic has the top spot followed by Rafel Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Between the top two they have won the last none major tournaments and Federer has been strong at Wimbledon, although has slipped in the last few years. Between the three of them they have owned the top tournaments over the last seven years. I think it would be nice to see a great upset and a new rising star in the sport, but not sure of that will happen.

On the women’s side Maria Sharapova, fresh off her French Open victory, has top honors, followed by Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Petra Kvitova is fourth. Serena Williams, a four time winner on grass, is the sixth seed while her sister Venus, still dealing with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain was unseeded.


If you are looking for the match on the television tune into ESPN, which will be broadcasting 140 hours of play across a number of its properties including nine screens on ESPN3 so that you can view any match you wish and all of the action will also be on WatchESPN and via a mobile app as well.

The two main channels, ESPN and ESPN2 will have three days where they are both showing matches simultaneously so that a viewer can hop back and forth to view the ones that they are most interested in.

The network will be showing four historic Men’s finals on ESPN Classic, each shown on the anniversary of the match. In addition users of ESPN on Demand can watch highlights as well as historic matches.

Last year ESPN signed a 12 year deal to broadcast Wimbledon and the network will be expanding its US Open announcer John McEnroe to host a preview show called Breakfast at Wimbledon. With all of the coverage the network has a large staff covering the event including Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. Chris Fowler will call matches and serve as studio host, sharing that role with Hannah Storm and Mike Tirico.

Mon, June 25 6:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 / ESPN3
Tue, June 26 – Thur, June 28 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 /ESPN3
Fri, June 29 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN / ESPN3
Sat, June 30 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN / ESPN3
Mon, July 2 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 / ESPN3 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Round of 16, Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3
Tue, July 3 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals, Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3
Wed, July 4 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals ESPN2 / ESPN3 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals, Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3
Thur, July 5 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3
Fri, July 6 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3
Sat, July 7 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ladies’ Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3
Sun, July 8 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3

If you want to follow the matches via Twitter, or an individual player or announcer a good place to check out would be TennisTweets which has an exhaustive list of players that you can follow as well as a running board with the latest from a variety of sources.

The official Wimbledon web site is a very clean and easy to use web site. Want to watch video or listen to the games live on the radio-it is there. Get an app for your smartphone or view the history of the event. All there. Interviews, weather forecasts, as well as what you would expect with all of the draws, schedules and results.

If you happen to be wondering about grass courts, according to Wikipedia they tend to be slippery, with the ball, while remaining fast, staying low. The majority of the grass courts worldwide are located in England and they need to be reseeded annually, and so have a higher cost of maintenance.

This year you may very well see a great deal more play on grass than in previous years because the Summer Olympics, held in under two months in London, will see its tennis matches played at the All-England Club as well.

ESPN Scores With Digital Australian Open Viewers

We’re still waiting on some final viewer numbers but according to ESPN digital viewing of the recent Australian Open is up over last year, with the “average minute audience” for the various ESPN platforms covering the event (, the ESPN mobile Web, ScoreCenter, ESPN3 and WatchESPN) up 12 percent from last year.

The digital increase makes sense, especially among a U.S. audience since the Australian Open is one of those U.S. prime-time challenged events, taking place in the wee hours of our mornings when you might be more likely to be sitting in front of a PC screen, tablet or phone instead of keeping everyone else in the house awake with the TV on. Here’s more from ESPN on the digital viewership:

During the two weeks, the tennis section on was up 91 percent in average daily unique visitors and up 177 percent in average daily visits. The ESPN mobile Web tennis section also saw a 54 percent increase in average daily unique visitors and an average minute audience up 36 percent. ESPN3 and WatchESPN generated 113.2 million minutes consumed, up 88 percent compared to the previous year.

Australian Open 2012 Embraces Social Media

Do you miss the days of Evonne Goolagong and wooden rackets? Do you have no idea what the first sentence meant but like watching tennis and regret that the Australian Open is half a world away and so difficult to catch much of the action live?

Well the 2012 edition of the famed tournament has stepped up in the digital and social media space and presents a number of methods in which a fan can either catch live action or at least get a steady stream of comments and updates, easily and from a desktop or a mobile device.

As noted in Mashable this could be the most advanced use of social media in a tournament and that there is a wide variety of tournament sponsored avenues in which fans can follow the action, as well as comment on the action as it occurs. This has been a growing tradition at the tournament and one that others sports events can learn from as a tool to heighten fan engagement.

The official site has a range of tools that can meet fans needs on a variety of levels. Want to see video replays of highlights, player interviews or of the most popular players in action? They have that. Want to listen on the radio; there is a feature for that when the matches are being broadcast live.

There is a core feature called Fan Central that brings input from fans into the game. It contains what is called a ‘Social Leaderboard’ that contains a pool of 40 players that were selected due to their popularity. Fans can tweet about one of them using a hashtag that relates to their name, or ‘like’ content on that includes them and with every tweet or like they get points to rise in a leaderboard. You are not limited to just following these 40 as the site enables you to follow any player, popular or not.

The most active tweeters will have the opportunity to become ‘Fanbassadors’ that will be recognized on the tournaments official web site.

But it is not just fan twitters that are available. The tournament has staffed @AustralianOpen, a 24 Twitter feed. For the less serious, or more I guess, there is a feature for predicting outcomes as well as one that enables you to put captions onto photos. You can even submit a short film about the ‘Tennis Essence’ with the winner being played at the tournament.

Of course you can follow on Facebook, but if that is too static there are mobile apps for both Apple iPhones and Android based smartphones. There will also be the more traditional information you would expect-draws, schedules, how to get tickets and an overall event guide.