Watch Australian Open Online

If you are in the U.S. and ESPN2 doesn’t televise your favorite player’s match live, try ESPN360.com. ESPN has announced that in addition to the 137 hours of televised coverage on ESPN2, ESPN360.com (ESPN’s free live broadband network) will present 467 hours of live coverage on broadband. This is a great news since tennis fans can choose between coverage on six different courts.

Tennis Week reports:

For the first 11 days of the tournament, which begins on January 14, ESPN360.com’s coverage will commence at 7 p.m. Eastern time (11 a.m. in Melbourne). For the remainder of the tournament, ESPN360.com will continue the ESPN2 simulcast, and will provide broadband users the women’s doubles final on January 24 and the men’s doubles final on January 25.

It marks the debut of ESPN360.com Australian Open coverage and dwarfs the total amount of broadband coverage the site offered for the 2007 Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

“This absolutely by far represents the most Australian Open coverage we’ve ever done,” John Lasker, director or programming and acquisitions for ESPN digital media told Tennis Week today. “We did the French Open and Wimbledon last year and the broadband coverage for all of these tournaments is based on what was available from a rights perspective. Because of our relationship with Tennis Australia, we have access to more courts and coverage for the Australian Open and we’re completely blowing out what we’ve done previously in going six courts deep in Australia.”

The six courts covered are the primary television courts at Melbourne Park: Rod Laver Arena, Vodafone Arena, Margaret Court Arena, plus Courts 2, 3 and 6. The broadband network offers users the ability to watch all six courts simultaneously in six different windows or maximize one window to a full-screen state and focus on one match. The primary window on the ESPN360.com player will typically air the match being televised on ESPN2, while the broadband site will present the world feed of the five other courts. Matches streamed through the world feed will feature graphics, a running scoreboard and replays, but no commentary though you will be able to hear the sound from that court so the bounce of the ball, squeal of sneakers or players’ questioning calls will be audible.

“There’s literally six live screen so it’s a mosaic offering and you’ll be able to sit there at this mosaic and either watch all of the matches or choose the one you want to focus on,” Lasker said. “Tennis plays very well on ESPN360 because there are so many matches played on so many courts at the same time and we can only televise one at a time on ESPN2 so now fans have a choice and we’ve opened the floodgates in offering six courts. Fans don’t always know what they want until it’s available to them; they’re so used to getting content through TV so now that we’re offering them additional coverage on ESPN360 we believe it’s going to be inevitable that eventually you’ll be able to see more and more tournament coverage this way.”

Currently, ESPN360.com is available in about 20 million American homes via more than 25 Internet Service Providers around the country including Verizon, AT&T, RCN, Beld, Bend, Charter, Frontier, Grande Communications, Knology, Mid-Hudson, MediaCom, Spencer, Municipal Utilities, Starstream Communications, Sus-com, U.S. Cable and more. ESPN360.com is free to fans who receive their high-speed internet service though an affiliated ISP provider. For more information on whether your ISP offers ESPN360.com or on how to get it, go to www.espn360.com.

The beauty of ESPN360.com’s broadband service is in its functionality that can take you back in time: you can rewind, pause or fast-forward the player at any point in a match to go back to a pivotal point or game or if you missed a match overnight you can visit the site the next day and watch the match in its entirety or fast forward to a specific segment of the match. The site will probably retain matches it streams for a maximum of 48 hours. The interface enables fans to use fast-forward, rewind and pause features both duing live coverage and on-demand replay.

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