DirecTV, ESPN2 Team Up for Interactive Wimbledon

When the annual Wimbledon Tennis Championship gets underway next week, DirecTV subscribers will be able to access nearly 200 hours of interactive coverage of the tournament via ESPN2.

The interactive service, first employed during the French Open broadcast several weeks ago, will be available during the first five days of Wimbledon matches and will include:

  • A Mix channel that will display six channels on one screen, among them the live ESPN2 coverage;
  • A “Wimbledon Extra” channel that features look-ins on key matches, highlights and interviews;
  • Action on four other courts from ESPN2, all of which can be expanded to full screen via the remote.

Other features include “Matches On Now,” that displays, on the lower third of the screen, scores from each of the matches currently on the court channels, with the ability to tune directly to the match; and “Results,” an instant look at real-time scores of in-progress and completed matches, and schedule info for matches ahead, all without leaving the match the viewer is watching.

According to DirecTV, more than a third of all interactive-capable viewers used the interactive applications during the French Open, and watched the tournament 44 percent longer than those who didn’t access the interactive features. Time spent using the interactive features each day grew 69 percent from the first day to the last day the service was available.

Last year, DirecTV broadcast more than 5,000 hours of live interactive sports programming, with nearly 2 million homes using one or more DirecTV interactive sports applications. The satellite broadcaster expects to deliver more than 6,000 hours of interactive programming in 2008.

Look for more coverage of Wimbledon in the June 25 issue of TV Technology.