ESPN Adds First-Ever Televised Wimbledon Qualifying
(May 22, 2017) In June, ESPN will cover all four days of Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s qualifying for The Championships, Wimbledon for the first time, with all-day action from one of the grass courts at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton, not far from Wimbledon and the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Qualifying will take place Monday, June 26 – Thursday, June 29, beginning each day at 6 a.m. ET with four matches scheduled per day on ESPN3 on WatchESPN and the ESPN App. Depending on scheduling and other circumstances, there is the possibility of adding matches to one of ESPN’s linear television networks.
“If you look at our history with Wimbledon and our unprecedented scheduling approach to The Championships, it should be no surprise we were very interested when The Club approached us with this opportunity to expand our relationship with their brand,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “For players, the opportunity to make the field of 128 is paramount and for qualifiers it may be the chance of a lifetime. We look forward to presenting all the compelling storylines from the qualifiers, leading into our comprehensive coverage of The Championships beginning July 3.”
Last Friday, May 19, Maria Sharapova announced she would enter the qualifying for Wimbledon, in lieu of a ranking sufficient for the main draw. The 2004 Wimbledon champion recently returned from a 15-month suspension.
Qualifying for Wimbledon has never before been a ticketed event, nor produced for distribution. AELTC will produce the coverage for a global audience with its graphics and commentators.
Wimbledon Qualifying Basics
- There are Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Singles competitions where players (128 and 96, respectively) must win through three rounds to win one of the 16 Main Draw places for men, or 12 Main Draw places for women. There are also qualifying draws for Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Doubles with four places available in the Main Draw of each event.
- All players receive ranking points and prize money and there is more money and ranking points on offer the more matches that they win.
- If a Main Draw player withdraws after the qualifying competition has started, his/her place in the Main Draw will be taken by a lucky loser – this is a player that lost in the final round of qualifying. These players are drawn by lot against other losers in this round.
ESPN & Wimbledon
ESPN has televised Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity in the U.S. since 2012. ESPN’s blanket coverage – all day, every day, Monday, July 3 – Sunday, July 16 – will once again include 140 hours on ESPN and ESPN2 and 1,500 on WatchESPN with action on all 15 televised courts. The schedule is highlighted by the unprecedented “Cross Court Coverage” the second Monday-Wednesday with all matches from the Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals on ESPN and ESPN2. The fortnight culminates with five championships on ESPN: the Ladies’ Singles Championship along with the Ladies’ and Gentlemens’ Doubles Championship on Saturday, July 15 and the Gentlemen’s Championship and Mixed Doubles Championship on Sunday, July 16.