Tennis on NBC

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Tennis on NBC
Created by NBC Sports
Directed by Andy Rosenberg
Starring See list of commentators
Opening theme Clark Gault
Ending theme Keith Mansfield
Country of origin US
No. of episodes N/A
Executive producer(s) Don Ohlmeyer
Running time 180 minutes or until tournament ends
Original channel NBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original airing 1955-1961 (US Nationals)
1969-2011 (Wimbledon)
1975-1979, 1983-present
(French Open)
External links

Tennis on NBC is a television program produced by NBC Sports that broadcasts the main professional tennis tournaments in the United States.


The usual time slot over the NBC network for Meet the Press (the long running Sunday public affairs program for NBC) is airing from 9-10 a.m. local time in most markets, though this may vary by markets due to commitments by affiliates to religious, E/I or local public affairs programing, and varies several weeks in the summer due to morning coverage of Grand Slam tennis and golf tournaments by NBC Sports.

US Nationals coverage[edit]

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[edit]

NBC broadcast The Championships, Wimbledon beginning 1969. Americans had made a tradition of NBC's "Breakfast at Wimbledon"[1] specials at weekends, where 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 and in 1982 for the women) started early in the morning (the US being a minimum of 5 hours behind the UK) 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 USA. Collins was sacked by NBC in 2007, but was promptly hired by ESPN, the cable home for The Championships in the States. For many years, NBC's primary Wimbledon host was veteran broadcaster Dick Enberg.

Effective the 2012 tournament, all live coverage (something of which NBC has been criticized for not doing[4][5]), including the Finals, will be exclusively on 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[edit]

NBC's coverage of the French Open began in 1975.[7] Other than a three year stint on CBS, NBC has remained the American television network home of the French Open since 1983. NBC shows weekend morning early round matches in the afternoon via tape-delay. If a match is still being played, it will be shown live. ESPN2 or Tennis Channel cannot show NBC's tape-delayed matches. NBC also tape-delays the men's semifinal, broadcasting it in the late morning on the same day. They broadcast both finals live. In 2012, NBC extended its broadcast agreement through 2024. Under the terms of this new deal, NBC will broadcast an additional ten hours of live coverage, including matches on Memorial Day and the women's semifinals.[8] With the 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[edit]

Main article: Olympics on NBC

In 2004 and 2006, Bravo carried coverage of the Olympic Games during the overnights and mornings produced by NBC Sports. In 2008, the channel carried no coverage, as NBCUniversal had acquired Oxygen, allowing Bravo to continue to carry their general programming schedule during NBC coverage of the Games. In 2012, NBC Sports announced that Bravo would serve as the home of Olympic tennis with 56 hours of coverage.[9]

On-screen graphics[edit]

NBC Sports first switched to digital on-screen graphics in 1995, although in a very limited, text based form. In 1999, NBC rolled out their first modern graphics package. The graphics were transparent black rectangles, with 3D gold bars on top and bottom, with blue accents for most sports (green for golf, purple for Wimbledon, and orange for the tennis French Open). Interestingly, scoreboxes were still not permanent, and they disappeared during plays. In 2002, the graphics were modified. They were changed to rounded edged, and the transparent color was changed from black to the color of the accents, which also replaced gold as the border color. The graphics still had no animation and the scoreboxes still were not permanent until 2005, when college football and hockey finally adopted scorebars, which didn't match the other graphics.



  1. ^ Sandomir, Richard (27 June 2009). "Live, the Men’s Final, After a Bit of Subterfuge". New York Times. 
  2. ^ Julian Rubenstein, "Monday Night Football's Hail Mary," New York Times Magazine, Sept. 3, 2000.
  3. ^ "Tanner comes out of closet". London: The Observer. 2004-07-04. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  4. ^ "NBC out, ESPN in, no more Wimbledon tape delay," from Los Angeles Times, 7/3/2011
  5. ^ "ESPN acquires all rights to Wimbledon," from ESPN Los Angeles, 7/5/2011
  6. ^ Sandomir, Richard (2011-07-03). "ESPN Reaches Deal to Carry Wimbledon". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Fang, Ken (23 May 2013). "NBC Begins Coverage of The 2013 French Open This Sunday". Fang's Bites. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "NBC extends French Open deal through 2024". Hollywood Reporter. August 5, 2012. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ "NBC Lays Out Olympic Schedule". Broadcasting Cable. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Medium Well: Your NBC Olympics lineup - A blog on sports media, news and networks -
  11. ^ Michael Hiestand (2007-07-05). "Collins will call final Wimbledon for NBC". USA Today. 
  12. ^ Larry Stewart (2007-07-09). "Collins makes exit from NBC". Los Angeles Times. 
  13. ^ 1989 French Open Gayle Gardner Interview of Chris Evert (11min) (Quality: Good) at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2009)
  14. ^ Medium Well: Your NBC Olympics lineup - A blog on sports media, news and networks -
  15. ^ Welcome to ActivePaper
  16. ^ Welcome to ActivePaper

External links[edit]