History Schmistory on ESPN2 after Nadal Win
Monday, 13 September 2010 | by Pat's Picks
UPDATE: Scroll down for video of the entire ceremony
For two weeks, the narrative on CBS, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel has been about Rafael Nadal in pursuit of the only major tennis title he hasn’t won. It’s stunning that they didn’t see fit to let the winning moment play to its conclusion. Instead ESPN rudely cut away to the pregame show of a barely-significant NFL game.
It was so odd that I didn’t even realize what had happened. The US Open mens’ final has been a bouncing ball all day for TV viewers. CBS carried the first set before a long rain delay. It moved to ESPN2 (with the CBS crew and CBS branding) for the evening session. When the match was threatening to go past 10:15 and the start of the football game, the network ran the message in the picture above, advising fans to move to ESPN Classic for the conclusion of the telecast after 10:15. That’s about the time Nadal won his championship point, so the telecast continued on ESPN2 as the on-court check and trophy presentation began.
It was all going as it should have until, without notice, someone pulled the plug. And there was no move to ESPN Classic.
That was it. No moment in the spotlight with the trophy. No cheering fans. No post-match analysis. Not even a goodnight. Just an abrupt start of Monday Night Football.
Disgraceful. People invest dozens of hours watching an event like the US Open. Another two minutes wouldn’t have done any harm to the football telecast. And if they had to dump out on ESPN2, Tennis Channel should have been there to pick up with a post-match interview.
UPDATE: Commenter Lexid98 found the video online from an overseas telecast—click below to see the entire ceremony:
UPDATE 2 (Wednesday, September 15): Deadspin’s Katie Baker wrote a nice piece on this issue and the bigger issue of whether CBS and ESPN are giving tennis an appropriate degree of respect.