The 2013 Australian Open will generate over 600 hours of live coverage from Melbourne all starting Sunday January 13 on ESPN2 at 6:30 p.m. ET. For ESPN, it marks the 29th consecutive Australian Open, making it the network’s longest uninterrupted professional sports programming relationship.
With Melbourne being 16 hours ahead of the United States' east coast, tennis fans will have to be very creative in watching the action. The networks will offer plenty of replays of the best matches on tape during the two weeks of the event.
The first major of the year will receive round-the-clock coverage from ESPN2, ESPN3, WatchESPN and the Tennis Channel. The coverage will culminate on ESPN2, ESPN3 and WatchESPN with the women’s championship Saturday, January 26, and the men’s championship Sunday, January 27, both at 3 a.m. ET, with re-airs later each day at 9 a.m. ET and in prime time.
ESPN2 will begin their live weekday broadcasts each night starting Monday, January 14 at 9 p.m. and continue until 7 a.m., with re-airs of the best matches on tape each afternoon at 2 p.m. through the first week of the tournament.
This is an event made for sports fans who love to stay up to the wee hours of the morning.
Because match times are subject to weather and other issues, I recommend you click here for an updated TV schedule. Also it will allow you to know what time the tennis is on in your time zone.
ESPN Interactive TV, seen on DIRECTV and ESPN3, will again present the Australian Open in a six-screen “mix channel” format. For eight hours each evening during the first eight days of the tournament, viewers will be able to watch the ESPN2 feed or select from five other courts, all with commentary and customized graphics. Interactive data features include the tournament draw, up-to-date scores, daily order of play, and social media interaction
The broadcast crew for ESPN2 will be led by Cliff Drysdale who has been with the network since its first tennis telecast in 1979. Darren Cahill, Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver return with hosts Chris Fowler and Chris McKendry.
Over at the Tennis Channel, the broadcast team will be Bill Macatee and Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova. They will return to Melbourne in 2013, with Macatee handling play-by-play again and Navratilova doing color commentary. Also part of the team will be play-by-play man Brett Haber and commentator Justin Gimelstob.
Rounding out the Tennis Channel team will be Lindsay Davenport who won the Australian Open singles title in 2000 and reached the doubles final six times. She will lend her championship perspective to Tennis Channel's booth in Australia, while one of the country's own, Rennae Stubbs, will handle special reports and vignettes
Click here for the complete Tennis Channel Australian Open Schedule.
Broadband will be: ESPN3, WatchESPN and the Australian Open website. (You can also get live radio on the same site.)
My personal suggestion to tennis fans is to use the WatchESPN app or ESPN3 on your computer or tablet. That allows you to view as many as six and sometimes seven matches at a time. The streaming quality of the picture is very good, and the freedom to choose the match that is of interest to you makes watching the Aussie Open more enjoyable.
If you don't have access to ESPN3 or WatchESPN, then try the Australian Open website for the multi- match option.
I also suggest that you try listening to the tournament on the AO Radio, part of the Australian Open's website. If you have never heard tennis done on the radio, it is quite entertaining.