Where Are the Women?

You ever recognize how hard it is to notice things that are NOT there?  Well, have you noticed that you haven’t seen much of women’s professional tennis on TV for about a year and a half?

New Deal

At the start of last year, the WTA signed an exclusive five-year deal with television broadcaster beIN Media Group giving them “broadcast rights for all WTA tournaments, including the 21 Premier events and the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, in over 30 territories worldwide including Spain, the USA, Australia and pan-regionally throughout the Middle East and North Africa.”

What is beIN?

According to Wikipedia, “beIN Sports is a global network of sports channels owned and operated by beIN Media Group, a spinoff of Al Jazeera Media Network.  beIN currently operates three full-time channels in Chinatown (where beIN Sports was launched for the first time) and initiated two channels in the United States (English and Spanish) in August 2012.”

I believe beIN has an exclusive contract to cover WTA events except for the majors, Indian Wells and Miami.  So we should see some women’s play next week at the French Open.

Good Move?

The upstart American Football League went head-to-head with the NFL and won; but was this the right thing for women’s professional tennis … or will it knock it out of the American viewers consciousness?

Or maybe it will force the networks to fill their tennis time with more doubles play!

What do you think?

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5 thoughts on “Where Are the Women?

  1. HI George,
    So glad you are coming along well.
    I too just said the same thing to my husband about “where are the women?”.

    It’s too bad everything has to come down to money in sports. I miss seeing the women but as long as there is Mens and/or doubles, I don’t mind. If they took tennis away, then I would have a problem since I don’t watch many other sports except golf.

    Keep up the good work on your rehab! You make it look and sound like a piece of cake, but I know it’s not. Good luck!

    Barbara, as they say, “Show me the money.” thanks, george

  2. I agree…where are the women players. I for one…and I bet many of us older players enjoy (for many reasons) watching the the ladies play. I get tired of turning on the tennis channel and seeing some guys playing on clay in the early rounds that I have never heard of.

    Very hard for us 60 and 70 year old, 4.0 guys to relate to the men’s game. Of course we all enjoy watching the top men battle it out……but much easier to relate to the ladies game and also usually much more competitive matches with many upsets.

    So yes….bring on the ladies ….with the variety they put into their game, their power, grace, tenacity, grit, determination…and of course some are real beauties !!

    Dave, i too can relate more to the women’s game, especially doubles. thanks, george

  3. It sounds like the WTA opted for a short term financial gain by giving exclusive rights to a non-traditional carrier, but the big question will be whether this results in a long term loss — especially for US women. Although tennis has been gaining in popularity worldwide, the US market remains essential for the long term good of the women’s game, and that is nowhere truer than for American players themselves. Europe and the emerging powerhouse economies in the Far East may or may not be able to sustain the international health of the female side of the sport all alone, but if they can it will certainly be more to the advantage of players from countries other than the US. Of course, if the laws of supply and demand hold up, eventually there should be more of a clamor for women’s tennis in the US, and that could eventually lead to licensing arrangements between beIN Sports and traditional US carriers, like the Tennis Channel, ESPN, etc., resulting in our seeing more non-Grand Slam women’s tennis back on TV in the US. But if this does not occur, or it takes too long to occur, the players who may suffer the most will be the post-Williams sisters crew of Americans, who will be deprived of the opportunity for maximum exposure to the tennis viewing audience in their home country. Serena and Venus are in the twilight of their careers and will not be around much longer. However, US players like Madison Keys, Coco Vandeweghe, Sloane Stevens, etc. — who have long been waiting in the wings after the Williams are retired — cannot be too happy about this.

    Marty, i agree… a short term gain and a long term loss. thanks, george

  4. You can watch many WTA events by subscribing to WTATV.com (about $74 per year) to stream live events. They have limited on-demand available as well but beware the matches are only available for a few days. If you don’t like watching TV on your mobile device you can cast it to your TV using a product like Chromecast that plugs into an HDMI port on your TV.

    Mike, sounds way too complicated for the average fan! thanks for the tip, tho. george

  5. George-
    I’ve been lamenting this fact since I read the announcement almost two years ago.
    I get beiN on Comcast In the States (Florida), but it does not transmit in HD…..hard to see the ball, and the shape of the court is distorted. Worse, they show about one match a day for 1-2 hours, no complete days or tournaments.
    I’m stunned that the WTA would have done this in the U.S. BeIN is popular in Europe but has almost no exposure in the States…..why didn’t they exclude us???
    This will not help the women’s game. The Chicago Blackhawks refused, many years ago, to broadcast any of their home games to Chicago fans because they thought it would cut down on ticket sales. That theory almost put them out of business. Luckily the son took over and changed that policy……. they’re now thriving.

    John, looks like a bad business decision to me! Thanks. George

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