Streaming or Broadcasting, what is the future of watching tennis?
The 2018 US Open for the first time has only been available to watch via Amazons Prime Video service. Prior to this, the US Open was broadcast on Sky. Although Amazon have been criticised for their current coverage of the final major of the year, it appears to be a step in the right direction for tennis viewership.
One of the biggest issues for most tennis events, and many sports in general is the limited match selection, especially in Britain. In countries like the US, you can watch any premier league football match on Saturday. Here, you get the early and late kick off. With Amazon prime, as they are an online service, they would be able to stream all courts quite easily, as long as there is a camera. You wouldn’t need a commentator on the outside courts, but especially in the early days of grand slam, you can get some high profile players on courts with no way to watch.
Another positive is the fact that you can watch on the go, on your phone, tablet or computer, which means you can watch those crucial points at any time. Sky and BT obviously have their own on-the-go apps, but they are the tributary options to their primary service. The main disadvantage of Amazon Prime Video however is that if you want to watch the matches on TV, it can be quite challenging unless you have a smart TV with internet capabilities.
The other main problem, more for viewers, is that when more and more sports events are split amongst multiple platforms, Sky, Amazon, BT for example, you need to subscribe and pay for numerous different broadcasters, which will be very costly, up to around £62 a month.
Amazon prime definitely have some work to do to master the live streaming of tennis and sports, but after agreeing a deal to show 37 ATP events this year, I can imagine they will get it sorted at some point (game, set or match)