Well as the dark nights close in Wimbledon is just a dim and distant memory in what was a wonderful summer, but I am in the mood to write and I never really felt I brought this blog to a conclusion. It has given me time to see how Sky treat the football season, and the Ashes and Formula One and how both Sky and Eurosport treated the next great tennis tournament after Wimbledon, the US Open. And then compare these to how the BBC treated Wimbledon.
Firstly let’s reflect on Wimbledon as a tournament. There were shocks, there were surprises, there were early upsets and those that held on a lot longer than we thought they would. There were slips and pain, tears and laughter, and there was pride. Even more importantly than all that there was a male British winner, and I cried like a baby watching Andy Murray lift the trophy that, not only did he work extremely hard for, but he deserved. At the beginning of a tournament I will make my prediction on who I think will win. Not based on rankings, or fitness, or current ability but merely on who I think wants it most. This year I believed from the start that no one wanted to lift that trophy more than Andy Murray. I’ll let you into a little secret, I still have Andy Murray kissing the trophy as my screen saver on my phone!
But the point of this blog was not to comment on how Wimbledon was as a tournament but how it was from viewer’s perspective watching on the BBC? Well firstly let’s just say that I HAVE to watch Wimbledon on the BBC as there is no alternative. Now as an avid sports viewer I am willing to pay for Sky Sports. My husband watches the golf, if you haven’t guessed yet I am a fan of the tennis, we both love Football, and can also be quite partial to the cricket, darts and the odd game of Rugby (League). This year I can watch a multitude of football matches on several days of the week, to watch the Ashes I had a dedicated channel, if I want to watch the Formula one, again I have a dedicated channel. (Although I don’t need to watch that channel as without knowing absolutely anything about F1 I am currently sitting 4th in a fantasy league after coming 3rd last year!) I don’t think there is any other TV package that will ever truly compete with Sky Sports, although many seem to want to try. I don’t know if Sky will ever show Wimbledon, I know that there will be thousands of people who will be upset if they do, but when I watch sports on Sky I feel that there is a pride and a passion there. I used to get this when I watched Wimbledon on the BBC, but now all I get is infuriated.
Growing up I felt that the BBC knew everything there possibly was to know about tennis and Wimbledon and that no one could rival that knowledge. After watching the US open, it felt like Eurosport had not only been to tennis university, but that they had left it with a masters degree. They knew what they were talking about, they had the big name commentators and they had the post-game interviews. Deep down in my heart I don’t want to stop watching Wimbledon on the BBC. The BBC and Wimbledon is a duo that goes together like Strawberries and cream, but maybe that is the problem. Maybe the BBC have become complacent. I have spoken to many people who watch Wimbledon and not one of them has had anything positive to say about the coverage. As I have said before yes the BBC know tennis, but it doesn’t seem to know its viewer very well. At no point over the last few years have I felt, whilst watching Wimbledon, that anyone cared about my enjoyment, about my viewing experience.
I’ve just re-read this blog from start to finish and my head is spinning. It was like watching Wimbledon all over again. I didn’t know if I was coming or going and I really don’t know how to conclude. The question I wanted to answer was ‘Should the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon be done?’ The truth is it’s not good. It’s infuriating, it’s irritating, it’s badly planned, it’s badly executed, it has been getting steadily worse for a few years when the BBC keep telling us it’s getting better. Unfortunately they seem to think that trying to throw more and more technology at us, is a replacement for actually being able to sit down and watch a full match on one channel uninterrupted. Until the BBC start seeing Wimbledon through our eyes instead of through their eyes I can’t see it ever getting any better. Would I be elated if Sky announced they were going to show next year’s tournament? Yes. Would I be sad if I never got to watch Wimbledon on the BBC again? I honestly think I would. But since I can’t see either of these scenarios happening any time soon, same time, same place, same irritations next year folks?