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Tennis on NBC

Tennis on NBC
Genre Tennis telecasts
Directed by Andy Rosenberg
Presented by See list of commentators
Theme music composer Clark Gault (opening theme)
Keith Mansfield (end theme)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 60
Executive producer(s) Don Ohlmeyer
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 180 minutes or until tournament ends
Production company(s) NBC Sports
Original channel NBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original release 1955-1961 (US Nationals)
1969-2011 (Wimbledon)
1975-1979, 1983-present
(French Open)
External links

Tennis on NBC is the de facto branding used for broadcasts of major professional tennis tournaments that are produced by NBC Sports, the sports division of the NBC television network in the United States. The network has broadcast tennis events since 1955.

The network's tennis coverage runs normally airs during the afternoon; however for several weeks in the summer, its Sunday coverage during the morning hours of Grand Slam tennis tournaments may start as early as 8:00 a.m., resulting in the pre-emption of regular programming on that day (such as the political talk show Meet the Press).


  • Overview 1
    • US Nationals coverage 1.1
    • Wimbledon coverage 1.2
    • French Open coverage 1.3
    • Olympic Games coverage 1.4
  • Commentators 2
  • On-screen graphics 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


US Nationals coverage

NBC broadcast the US Nationals as early as 1955 and at least up until 1961. Bud Palmer, Jack Kramer, Lindsey Nelson, Don Budge, Bill Stern and Bill Talbert were among the commentators during this period.

Wimbledon coverage

NBC broadcast The Championships, Wimbledon beginning 1969. Americans had made a tradition of NBC's "Breakfast at Wimbledon"[1] specials during the tournament on weekends, in which live coverage (which under the guidance of then-NBC Sports executive producer Don Ohlmeyer[2] and associate producer Bob Basche,[3] began in 1979 for the men's rounds and in 1982 for the women) started early in the morning (as the Eastern Time Zone in the United States is five hours behind the United Kingdom) and continued well into the afternoon, interspersed with commentary and interviews from Bud Collins, whose tennis acumen and (in)famous patterned trousers are well-known to tennis fans in the U.S. Collins was fired by NBC in 2007, but was promptly hired by ESPN, which holds the Wimbledon cable rights. For many years, NBC's primary Wimbledon host was veteran broadcaster Dick Enberg.

Starting with the 2012 tournament, all live coverage (something of which NBC has been criticized for not doing[4][5]), including the Finals, moved exclusively to ESPN, marking the second major tennis championship (after the Australian Open) available in the United States exclusively on pay television;[6] the 2011 tournament marked the 43rd and final year of NBC's coverage. NBC issued a statement saying it had been outbid for the rights to future broadcasts.

French Open coverage

NBC's coverage of the French Open began in 1975.[7] Other than a three-year stint on CBS, NBC has remained the U.S. broadcast television home of the French Open since 1983. The network shows weekend morning early-round matches in the afternoon on tape-delay; however, if a match is still being played, it will televise the match live. NBC's current deal for the tournament does not allow ESPN2 or Tennis Channel to show NBC's tape-delayed matches. NBC also tape-delays the men's semifinal, broadcasting it in the late morning on the same day, however it broadcasts both finals live.

On August 5, 2012, NBC announced it had extended its broadcast agreement through 2024. Under the terms of this new deal, NBC would broadcast an additional ten hours of live coverage,[8] including matches on Memorial Day and the women's semifinals.[9] With the United States Tennis Association (USTA) agreeing to an eleven-year deal with ESPN for exclusive broadcast rights to the US Open, the French Open will be the only tennis tournament on American network television.

Olympic Games coverage

In 2004 and 2006, Bravo carried overnight and morning coverage of the Olympic Games from NBC Sports. In 2008, the channel did not carry any coverage, as NBCUniversal had acquired Oxygen, allowing Bravo to continue to carry its regular entertaiment programming schedule during NBC's coverage of the Games. For the 2012 Summer Olympics, NBC Sports announced that Bravo would serve as the home of Olympic tennis events, providing 56 hours of coverage.[10]


On-screen graphics

NBC Sports first switched to digital on-screen graphics in 1995, although in a very limited, text-based form. A modernized graphics package for the telecasts rolled out in 1999, based around translucent black rectangles, with beveled gold bars at the top and bottom, with blue accents for most sports (green for golf, purple for Wimbledon, and orange for the tennis French Open). Interestingly, scoring bugs were still not a permanent feature, as they disappeared during plays until 2005, when the network introduced horizontal scorebars for its coverage of college football and hockey, which did not match the other graphics. The graphics, which still did not have any animation, were modified in 2002 to feature rounded edges, and the translucent color was changed from black to the color of the accents, which also replaced gold as the border color.


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  14. ^ 1989 French Open Gayle Gardner Interview of Chris Evert (11min) (Quality: Good) at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2009)
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External links

  • Fang's Bites: NBC’s 43 Year History With Wimbledon
  • | Sports Media WatchTennis on NBC
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