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Hey ESPN, I really hate your Wimbledon scoreboard

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 27th 2008 3:40PM

Andy RoddickAs longtime readers of TV Squad probably know, I'm a tennis fanatic. I hate summer with a passion, but I'm happy for the season during four weeks: the two weeks of Wimbledon (late June/early July) and the two weeks of the U.S. Open (late August/early September). If you need me those two weeks, I'll be in front of my TV and a fan, drinking cold liquids.

Of course, it's not all popcorn and roses. There's something that really irritates me about ESPN's coverage of Wimbledon that's going on right now, and I see it every single time I look at the screen (which I find you have to do if you want to watch the matches). It's that damn scoreboard at the top of the screen.

Now, usually, TV networks show a tennis score like this during the match:

Federer 4 5 4
*Roddick 6 7 5

(Yes, that's right, Roddick is serving for a straight set victory over Federer. This would never happen in real life.)

That's pretty easy to follow, settled into the lower right or left hand corner of the TV screen, the asterik denoting who is serving. But here's what we have to put up with ESPN, placed at the top of the screen:

1 Federer >6 Roddick 30-15 4-6, 5-7, 4-5


Sure, you figure it out after a while (everything is read left to right), but after 20 years of the networks doing it a certain way, it's still not easy. I think the mind of the tennis fan is designed to process the score in a certain way. Just give us the scores next to the players names so we don't have to look on each side and line things up in our minds. I assume ESPN wants more room for their scroll at the bottom of the screen, but I really think they should go back to the old way of doing it, even if they don't have the score on the screen non-stop.

Even Andy doesn't like it. I mean, look at him in the pic looking up at the top of the screen thinking "that's really bothering me."

I really hope USA Network doesn't adopt this when the U.S. Open starts.

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Rachel Redd

This TV coverage is really bad....I don't know who is operating the cameras, the editing whatever, but there seems to be more interest in the spectators in the stands and sometimes the action is cut short on the court; the replays are not timed correctly and again the camera barely has time to capture the action us TV viewers are hoping to see. If I were the advertisers, I would be not be happy with this coverage. I plan to contact each of them with an email. And of course the way the score is posted is just plain stupid; you are living in the dark ages; no, let me correct that; you are simply not giving your viewers a fair shake for those who are tennis fans. That's right, crowd the screen with all this other crap like everything else in this overworked, over-saturated world we try to live in.

July 04 2008 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So glad me and my lady aren't alone in this! I was looking for some screecaps to do an analysis of why this sucks so bad. Anyone got a tuner in their computer?

July 01 2008 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't like the new scoreboard! I'm a HUGE tennis fan and I really love the ESPN Tennis commentating crew, but that scoreboard has got to go. That said, it would be easier for me to watch the re-runs on the Tennis Channel after work, but I tape the ESPN coverage because of the commentators. I especially love the 4-box topics at the beginning of the day.

June 30 2008 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Glad to see I'm not the only one. I also hate the awful "Guitar Idol" commercials.

June 28 2008 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

here's a puzzler for you guys:

stepanek >youzhny 5-7 7-6 4-6 5-6 30-15

i'm presently watching the Stepanek-Youzhny match...it seemed to take me an extra 10 seconds to decipher the score..until i realized i had it wrong and the other guy was winning and then...'er, you get the point.

who is the genius at ESPN who decided to jazz things up this year??

that being said, i've enjoyed the ESPN coverage. cahill, gilbert, pat mcenroe...pretty good stuff. i'm not a huge chris fowler fan as it makes it feel like a college football guy is giving me tennis play-by-play. but, overall it's been alright.

but that freakin' scoreboard is drivin' me crazy!

June 28 2008 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just add my amen to the chorus. How stupid

June 28 2008 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I couldn't agree more, it pissed my off as a broadcast and graphic designer that ESPN, normally a leader in design for this stuff would take the 'NFL Football' route with f*ing tennis.

It's so annoying and hope they dont make this mistake ever again, if I have to work at figuring out who's up, or even who has the AD after a deuce, I mean, WTH.

June 28 2008 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, the scoring graphic is lame, but I am really grateful for ESPN 360 which allows free viewing anytime of full matches that either weren't on the telecast, or were on at a godawful hour (coverage starts at 4am here in LA). On the Wimbledon site itself, you have to pay a subscription to see webcasts. Go Marat, go!

June 28 2008 at 2:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok, so i get the following format:

Federer 4 5 4
*Roddick 6 7 5

I kinda get the next format too. My question though, what do the 1 & the 6 stand for next to their names & how do you know who is serving???

1 Federer >6 Roddick 15-30 4-6, 5-7, 4-5

I watch tennis sometimes just cuz it looks awesome in HD

June 28 2008 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to xnifex's comment

The 1 & 6 are the seeds for Federer and Roddick, and the > denotes who's serving.

And I agree with everyone here that the new ESPN scoreboard blows.

June 28 2008 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bonita Smith

Yes! Other people who love watching tennis on TV! I live in the Chicago suburbs, and I don't know ANYONE who watches tennis - it's crazy! So thank you for giving me a venue to share this love for tennis - and to vent about the awful new scoreboard. The worst part is figuring out whose score is whose. And a close second is that the numbers are so small, I often can't tell what the score is anyway. Is there somewhere we can email or petition so they might change it back? I've watched every tennis match for years, and I would never miss Wimbledon, but enduring this for another week and a half will do me in. Thanks.

June 27 2008 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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