Last Sunday’s historic Wimbledon men’s final posed a challenge for KDSK-TV, the NBC affiliate in St. Louis, which also carries baseball’s Cardinals games live.
Because of a rain delay in the tennis match, it was still being played when the Cardinals game began; in fact, it overlapped about an hour. Determined to not let its viewers miss out on either, the station decided to broadcast both in a split screen.
The station received many calls from angry viewers, some wanting to see the tennis match and others expecting to see their beloved redbirds play their archrival Chicago Cubs.
The issue caused such uproar that an on-camera apology was given by the station’s sports director during the 5 p.m. newscast.
Viewers complained about the small picture on their TV screens. The tennis coverage "was so small I had to stand a few feet from my TV,’’ one viewer told the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” newspaper.
"We didn’t want to not give tennis fans a look at that exciting final,’’ KSDK news director Mike Shipley told the newspaper.”By the same token, more people were watching the Cardinals.’’
"Trying to watch the Cardinals on KSDK’s split screen…is nothing but (junk),’’ another viewer said.
KSDK’s Shipley said his station and the Cardinals had agreed last winter to schedule the game for an hour later than usual for a Sunday, to reduce the chance of overlap. However, the longest Wimbledon’s men’s final in history changed those plans.