Australian Open on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN3: First Ball to Last Ball Coverage Starts January 19

Tennis

Australian Open on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN3: First Ball to Last Ball Coverage Starts January 19

  • ESPN+ Direct-To-Consumer Streaming Service to Offer 500 Matches Live and on Demand
  • 100+ Live Hours on TV plus Afternoon Encores of Overnight Action
  • ESPN App with Every Match Live from all 16 Courts via ESPN+, ESPN3
  • New in 2020: Entire Australian Open Qualifying on ESPN+ Starts Monday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. ET
  • Wide-Open Women’s Field; No Man under 31 has Won a Major

Tennis’ first Major of a new decade – the 2020 Australian Open, starting Sunday, Jan. 19, with every match available across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN3 – will see a women’s field that is both wide open and getting younger at the top whereas the greats of the men’s game continue to emerge triumphant on the final Sunday of Majors.  Daily marathon telecasts from Melbourne, totaling more than 100 hours of television plus 1,400 hours streaming, will culminate with the Women’s and Men’s Championships on February 1 and 2, respectively, both at 3:30 a.m. ET.

New for 2020 is coverage of qualifying on ESPN+.  Beginning Monday, Jan. 13 (Tuesday in Melbourne), all 224 qualifying matches will be presented from 13 courts each night starting at 6 p.m. through Thursday, Jan. 16.

Coverage Highlights

  • After the qualifying on ESPN+, ESPN2 will again present daily, marathon, prime-time and overnight telecasts from Melbourne (at 7 p.m. the first night, thereafter at 9 p.m.) through the women’s semifinals; later action airs on ESPN.
  • Starting each night at 7 p.m. from Day 2 (Monday, Jan. 20) through Day 13, coverage begins on ESPN+ — the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) and ESPN — with all 16 courts available. ESPN2 and ESPN3 join later, generally at 9 p.m.
  • ESPN2 will air the Women’s semifinals on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 10 p.m. and ESPN will air the Men’s semifinals on Thursday, Jan. 30, and Friday, Jan. 31, both at 3:30 a.m.
  • ESPN+ and ESPN3, streaming on the ESPN App, will combine to present every match (singles, all doubles, juniors, legends and wheelchair competitions) – 1,400 hours.
  • ESPN+ will present all three doubles championships (men’s, women’s, mixed) plus the Boys’ and Girls’ Singles Championships and the Wheelchair Championships.
  • ESPN+ will also be home to all of its completed matches throughout the tournament for on-demand viewing (as ESPN3 is for its matches), as well as a daily highlights show which will be posted soon after the completion of play each day.
  • More than 40 additional hours will be aired on ESPN2 during the afternoon recapping the action from the overnight telecasts, generally at 2 p.m.

Surveying the Fields

The Women

  • A youth movement could be afoot in the WTA as younger players are breaking through. Among the 10 women who have shared the last 12 Major titles, 2019 saw Naomi Osaka (now 22), Ash Barty (23) and Bianca Andreescu (19) win in Australia, Paris and New York, respectively.  (Andreescu has withdrawn from the event due to injury.)
  • The tennis world is anxious to see if Coco Gauff – still only 15 – can maintain her scintillating play of 2019.
  • If it is Serena Williams fending off youth and the last woman standing, it would be her first Major title as a mom and her 24th Major crown, tying the record held by Australia’s Margaret Court.

The Men

  • Amazingly, the last 12 Majors have seen just three male winners, all living legends – Roger Federer (20 career Major wins), Rafael Nadal (19) and defending champ and seven-time winner Down Under Novak Djokovic (16). Can these three continue to fend off the younger generation?  There is no man under 31 who has a Major title on his resume.

Tennis Channel and ESPN’s ongoing Grand Slam alliance includes the Australian Open and gives viewers near round-the-clock tournament enjoyment from Melbourne.  Each network utilizes its own commentators during its respective coverage and cross-promotes the combined ESPN-Tennis Channel television offerings.

The ESPN Tennis Team, the best in television:

  • Darren Cahill, who once reached the US Open semifinals and the Australian Open doubles final, has worked for ESPN since 2007. As a coach, he guided Lleyton Hewitt to become the youngest player ever ranked No. 1 and Andre Agassi to be the oldest ever.  In 2017 and 2018, he coached Simona Halep to No.1 on the WTA Tour and win her first Major, the 2018 French Open.  After a 12-month hiatus, they have reunited for 2020.
  • Cliff Drysdale, a member of the Tennis Hall of Fame, he reached the US Open finals and is a two-time Wimbledon and French Open semifinalist. He has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in 1979.  Drysdale was a leader on the court – a top player for many years who was one of the first to use a two-hand backhand – and off the court, as the first president of the ATP.
  • Chrissie Evert, a Hall of Famer who joined ESPN in 2011, counts a record six US Opens among her 18 Major titles. She recorded the best career win-loss record in history, reached more Major singles finals than any man or woman (34), and reached the semis or better in 34 consecutive Majors (1971-83).  The AP Female Athlete of the Year four times, in 1976 she was the first woman to be the sole recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year.  Played the Australian Open six times (1974 the first), reaching the finals every time, winning twice.
  • Mary Joe Fernandez, an ESPN analyst since 2000, played in three Major singles finals and won two Majors in doubles, won a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and a Bronze in singles in 1992.  She was the coach of the United States’ Fed Cup team for eight years, stepping down in 2016, and coached the 2012 and ’16 U.S. women’s Olympic team.
  • Chris Fowler – who joined ESPN in 1986, joined the ESPN tennis team in 2003 and is the lead ESPN/ABC college football play caller – is the lead voice to call matches. He hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays 1990-2014, and has hosted World Cup soccer, college basketball including the Final Four, the X Games and Triple Crown horse racing events.  Originally, he was the first host of Scholastic Sports America and later was a SportsCenter
  • Brad Gilbert, whose flair and unique nicknames for players has enlivened ESPN’s tennis telecasts since 2004, parlayed his playing career – once ranked No. 4 in the world and reaching the quarterfinals of the US Open and at Wimbledon – into coaching Andre Agassi (six Major titles with Brad), Andy Roddick (US Open victory) and Andy Murray.
  • Jason Goodall will serve as a studio and match analyst. A one-time standout among Juniors in Britain whose career was ended by injury at 21, he later coached Jennifer Capriati as well as ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver.
  • Bethanie Mattek-Sands will split time between playing and visiting as a guest analyst. The 34-year old from Minnesota has captured five Major doubles titles, plus three Major mixed doubles crowns (including at the 2018 US Open after returning to action last year following a horrific knee injury in 2017) and an Olympic Gold Medal in mixed doubles in 2016.
  • John McEnroe, won seven Grand Slam singles titles during his storied career, which included 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles. He also led the U.S. to four Davis Cup titles and won the NCAA’s while attending Stanford. He has worked for ESPN since 2009.
  • Patrick McEnroe, who has worked for ESPN since 1995, was the U.S. Davis Cup captain 2001-2010 and in 2007 the team won its first championship since 1995.  A three-time singles All-American at Stanford – where the team won NCAA titles in 1986 and 1988 – he served as General Manager, USTA Elite Player Development from 2008 – 2015.  He won the 1992 French Open doubles title and reached the 1991 Australian Open semifinals in singles.
  • Chris McKendry returns as host, a role she has filled at all the Majors for ESPN. She joined ESPN in 1996 as a SportsCenter anchor, and later hosted the Little League World Series and X Games.  As of Spring 2016, she focuses on tennis.  She attended Drexel University on a tennis scholarship.
  • Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach since 2012, will visit frequently as guest analyst. He has helped her to unprecedented success deep into her ‘30s – 10 Major titles and an Olympic Gold Medal.
  • Pam Shriver, who started working for ESPN in 1990, long before her Hall of Fame career ended, played in the 1978 US Open finals at age 16 (losing to Evert) and won 21 Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles (another in Mixed) including five at the US Open plus a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1988 Olympics.
  • Rennae Stubbs, who enjoyed a long career in doubles – winning six Majors: four in women’s and two in mixed, representing Australia at four Olympic Games and for 17 years in Fed Cup, will be an analyst. She’s worked for ESPN for many years, and for NBC at the Olympics and for Tennis Channel.

 

MORE TV & DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD

ESPN.com will have extensive previews, reviews, analysis, the latest news, polls, videos and more.

ESPN Interactive TV will present a six-screen mosaic on DIRECTV featuring the ESPN/Tennis Channel linear feed and five TV courts, during the first seven days of the tournament.  Sam Gore will host with Luke Jensen.

ESPN Deportes will present extensive, live coverage of the tournament across multiple platforms.  Wall-to-wall Spanish-language coverage will also be available via streaming on the ESPN App, featuring coverage of all rounds, the quarterfinals and the women’s semifinals.  The men’s semis and both Championships will be televised live on ESPN Deportes. Online, ESPNDeportes.com will also provide up-to-the-minute news and information including results, recaps and chats.

ESPN Classic will air memorable Australian Open matches throughout January and during the tournament, often in morning hours.

ESPN International will provide extensive coverage of live HD action to tennis fans via its networks in Spanish-speaking Latin America (200 hours), Brazil (235 hours) and the Caribbean (104 hours).  Showcasing the biggest names in tennis, broadcasts will air in three languages, including Spanish in Mexico, Central America & South America; Portuguese in Brazil; and English in the Caribbean.  ESPN2 Brazil will televise over 110 hours of live complementary coverage throughout the early rounds, (Latin Brazil has over 130 live hours) while ESPN Tres North and ESPN2 South will air over 70 hours of additional Spanish-language coverage. ESPN Play will also stream every single match on every court.

In addition, ESPN will also televise two two-hour “Best Match of the Day” daily (Spanish only).  In Canada, TSN (English) and RDS (French) will again provide ESPN coverage on television and digital services, while in India, the SONY ESPN platform will carry live coverage.

ESPN Play (Watch ESPN in Brazil), ESPN’s broadband service in Latin America and the Caribbean will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the year’s first Grand Slam, streaming live from every available televised court, including the men’s & women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and finals plus all three doubles championships (men’s, women’s, mixed), the Boys’ and Girls’ Singles Finals, Legends matches plus the Wheelchair Finals.  Live streaming action will be available throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in English, Spanish and Portuguese language.

ESPN and Tennis

Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air, providing numerous memorable moments from around the world, but it has never been as important as today, with the unprecedented position of presenting three of the sports Major events from start to finish (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open, with exclusivity at the latter two).

2020 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

(For these charts, all times are Eastern, and each day “begins” at 6 a.m. ET.

Therefore, the listing Mon., Jan. 27, at 3 a.m. ET is actually very late on Monday night.)

 

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)  
Jan 19-Feb 2 First ball to last ball each day Australian Open – up to 16 courts ESPN+, ESPN3

on ESPN app

LIVE
   
Sun, Jan 19 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early Round Play ESPN2 LIVE
Mon, Jan 20 2 – 5 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Tue, Jan 21 2 – 5 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Wed, Jan 22 2 – 5 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Thu, Jan 23 2 – 5 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 24 1 – 4 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Sat, Jan 25 9 a.m. – Noon ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. Round of 16 ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Sun, Jan 26 9 – 11 a.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Mon, Jan 27 2 – 5 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. Quarterfinals ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 6 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Tue, Jan 28 2 – 5 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 – 9 p.m. ESPN+ LIVE
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Wed, Jan 29 2 – 5 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Women’s Semifinals ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Thu, Jan 30 2 – 5 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 ESPN2 Encore
  11 p.m. Mixed Doubles Semifinals

Women’s Doubles Championship

ESPN+ LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Fri, Jan 31 2 – 5 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 ESPN2 Encore
  7:15 p.m. Boys’ and Girls’ Championships ESPN+ LIVE
  3:30 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Championship ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
  5:30 a.m. Mixed Doubles Championship ESPN+ LIVE
Sat, Feb 1 8 – 11 a.m. Women’s Championship ESPN2 Encore
  11 p.m. Men’s Doubles Championship ESPN+ LIVE
  3:30 – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Championship ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Sun, Feb 2 8 a.m. – Noon Men’s Championship ESPN2 Encore

 

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Dave Nagle

It was 32 years at ESPN for me as of November 2018 (the only job I’ve ever had) after joining merely to help with the America’s Cup for three months at a robust $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals and Indy 500; Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, in addition to overseeing the Fan Relations, Archives and ESPNPressRoom.com, my main areas are tennis, ratings, and corporate communications documents, including ESPN’s history and growth.
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