ATP Tour

SA TV's irrational blackout of Davis Cup tennis

2017-04-10 13:06
Nik Scholtz (Picture credit: Reg Caldecott)

It is described as "The World Cup of Tennis" by the ITF and is the largest and most comprehensive annual sports event on the planet, with no less than 134 countries competing.

Despite this unmatched status, all South African TV channels this weekend joined hands in boycotting the worldwide Davis Cup matches, which included four mouth-watering World Group quarter-finals and on a more modest, insular scale the Euro-Africa Group Two match-up between South Africa and Slovenia at the Irene Country Club on the outskirts of Pretoria.

This oversight was hardly surprising from the SABC in view of the public broadcaster's dismal overall coverage of sports events - or from E-TV, who ignore live sports coverage as standard policy.

But for DSTV’s SuperSport channel, who miss no opportunity boasting about their comprehensive and unmatched (sic) coverage, it constitutes nothing less than an embarrassing and naive oversight to ignore the engrossing Davis Cup quarter-final match-ups between Australia and the United States; France and Great Britain; Serbia and Spain and Italy and Belgium.

Featured in the quarter-final ties which started on Friday were many of the world's top tennis attractions, among them Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios.

As for the South African tie nearer to home, Tennis South Africa was not blameless, not even bothering to approach any of the local TV channels - notwithstanding the deaf ears with which any request would probably have been met.

In place of TV coverage, TSA negotiated the internet streaming of the SA-Slovenia tie - an expensive alternative with an infinitely smaller audience when South African tennis needs all the exposure it can get.

What is more, when it comes to general viewing terms, there is an almost indecent favouritism on South African TV  towards the "big three" most popular team events, namely soccer, rugby and cricket - and also golf for one reason or another.

So why watch some of the world's great tennis players in monumental Davis Cup battles when you can see matches in the PSL's reserve league?

Read more on:    sy lerman  |  tennis
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