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the good life in a digital age

navigating the world of tennis broadcasting rights

The world of tennis broadcasting is a complicated one and one that has led me to some odd device behaviour.

In the UK Wimbledon is free to air on BBC, as is Queens and the ATP (mens) tour final. French Open is now on ITV (presumably as part of a bid for Wimbledon). With the Australian Open the BBC tends to broadcast a men’s semi and the two finals live. Eurosport showed matches but no Andy Murray ones.

The last US Open was only on paid for TV (primarily Sky with some early matches and/or delayed coverage on Eurosport). Sky also shows some ATP tournaments but not the WTA (womens) ones even when they are joint events. Eurosport used to show lots of WTA tournaments but seems to have reduced that.

Many of the tournament websites stream free to air in their own territories but very few tournaments are in the UK.

Which leaves TennisTV who show most ATP and WTA tournaments but not the big grand slams. Quite a few tournaments aren’t available if you are in their home territory (so this time being in the UK works in my favour).

So the solution seems to be TennisTV for the tour. BBC for Wimbledon, Queens and the ATP final. ITV for the French Open. And a combination of Sky, BBC and/or Eurosport for US and Australian Opens.

So far, so complicated.

Now add in pricing. I don’t have (or want) satellite or cable TV so I’m looking at online or app subscriptions. (I’m using all the apps on my iPad 2. I’ve considered the Android alternatives but the equivalent apps are either not available for the Nexus 7 or the reviews are so terrible about performance and customer support I wouldn’t risk paying for the apps)

Eurosport player

Subscribe online to Eurosport Player and the prices are £4.99/month or £2.99/month for a minimum of 12 months. You can subscribe via the iPad app £2.99 for a month, no minimum.

Screenshot of tennis match in Eurosport Player


I only want Sky’s tennis coverage for a single fortnight a year. This is possible with SkyGo in spite of their best efforts to conceal the option (well, it’s possible to subscribe for a single month anyway).

Screenshot of Sky Go iPad app

On the SkyGo page the information about how to get Sky Go without Sky TV in your home is a long way down the page after many suggestions that you need to be a subscriber. And it’s a closed section that you need to expand to read it. Then you can get a monthly SkyGo pass for £35/month that includes Sky sports channels. You can’t subscribe via the app itself. It would be £42.50/month to subscribe to the equivalent TV service and that would be for a minimum of 12 months.

Still £35 it is a lot more than I’m paying for other tournaments so come US Open time I’ll be checking what Eurosport and the BBC are providing very carefully (and how much time I’d actually have for watching) before actually paying for this.

Tennis TV

Tennis TV online is £14.99 a month or £84.95 a year but if you subscribe via the iPad app it is £6.99 for a month, 17.49 for 3 months or £57.99 for 12 months. And you can easily switch off auto-renewal.

Screenshot from Tennis TV app

Apple’s constraints around subscription prices and renewals work in my favour with both Eurosport and Tennis TV and encourage some odd screen behaviour. I don’t want to subscribe all year round to these channels, just when they are showing tournaments I’m interested in watching (and have the time to waste) so being able to cancel at will is perfect. And the app prices are a better reflection of what the content is worth to me. But buying an app-only sub means watching on my iPad even when sat at the computer and technically being able to watch on desktop. And at times that has resulted in a slightly warped second screening behaviour:

iPad propped on laptop


Written by Karen

May 20th, 2013 at 6:33 am

Posted in apps,digital