Sports fan fury on ‘live’ tennis

Tennis fans are venting their anger at Channel Seven after learning that last night’s match between Federer and Tipsarevic was delayed.

Seven promotes its Australian Open as being live.

On Saturday night Seven stopped the match to screen Seven News. At 6:30pm it followed with UK drama Heartbeat. When the match resumed at 7:30pm it was delayed by about 20 minutes.

On TV the players were in the third set but the live stream on the internet showed Federer down two sets to one and the fourth set already in progress. Radio broadcasts were also ahead of Seven’s footage. Even the BBC website was more up to date than Seven viewers.

Today radio talkback callers were furious with Seven. Internet forums also posted viewer venom. “You don’t see Channel 9 stopping the cricket broadcast for their news time slot do you?” wrote reh12968 on Yahoo7.

“Not good Channel 7 if you don’t want to show the tennis fully then let another channel have it. Shame, Shame, Shame,” wrote Jeffandchrisb.

A Seven spokesman said: “Heartbeat is part of our regular Saturday night line-up. A decision was made by the programming department to stick with that.”


Television networks have always used the term ‘live’ creatively. The TV Week Logie Awards have traditionally been about 20 mins delayed. But the ultimate prize goes to Network TEN whose “live” broadcast of the Big Brother opening episode is about 24 hours old.

Still, in sport live should mean live. Especially when viewers are left sitting up until the wee hours for match outcomes. That’s major beauty sleep, Seven…

Additional source: Sun-Herald


  1. I’ve got to agree with the WA people. Often games involving Lleyton Hewitt won’t even go live into SA as 7 don’t want to upset their precious scheduling.

    I think the best example of screwing with the SA public and the backlash was a game where the Crows played West Coast and 7 decided to place their usual news service in the middle and delay the game when it was being played at Subiaco. Their ratings plummeted and I don’t think they ever decided to delay an away Crows game again.

  2. Glad someone brought up WA – having sport delayed by 20 minutes isn’t going to get much sympathy from over here. When the one dayers start we get it 2 hours delayed. When the footy season starts in March we get friday night football delayed so it doesn’t start on TV until the game has already finished.
    It’s ridiculous that we can get Memphis v Ohio State in college gridiron live, but football and cricket we get a 3 hour delay.

  3. this is run of the mill for us over in the west…
    in perth, everything is delayed, cricket, football, tv shows where you can ring/txt to vote, EVERYTHING…..

    it really is a joke.

    call me sadistic, but im kinda glad its occurring over in the east, at least you guys can suffer too like us poorer cousins in the west

  4. They should have gone live at 7.30 when they returned, not delayed it by 30 mins.

    What they really should have done is continue the Tennis on 7HD whilst Heartbeat was on regualr 7. If they advertised that on screen they might have even got alot of tennis fans thinking about going out and buying an HD box.

  5. Interestingly by the time 6.30pm came around in Brisbane, they decided to drop Heartbeat there and go straight back to the tennis after the news.

  6. to be fair to seven, they pulled heartbeat in some markets to join the tennis earlier.

    And geez, its 20 minutes. People are acting as though it was hours behind! Settle down.

  7. “You don’t see Channel 9 stopping the cricket broadcast for their news time slot do you?” wrote reh12968 on Yahoo7

    Actually, cricket fans are always barking on about how Nine cuts short the cricket coverage at 5.59 so it can go to the news at 6.00.

    I imagine this type of thing won’t be a problem when proper standard-definition (not HD) multi-channeling is allowed on the commercial channels in 2009.

  8. “You don’t see Channel 9 stopping the cricket broadcast for their news time slot do you?” wrote reh12968 on Yahoo7

    Actually, in Adelaide we do. The Tea break in the Perth test starts here at 5.30, so instead of seeing the news half an hour early and not missing any cricket, we are left watching the commentators talk for half an hour, then when the players are returning to the field at 6.00, we cut to the news!

  9. …if only the networks had more than 1 channel each then they could show the TENNIS (really LIVE) and the NEWS and HEARTBEAT or WHATEVER… but hang on a minute, they do have more than 1 channel; but persist in putting 1 picture out over several channels… analogue, standard digital and high def… what a sad joke is multi-channeling in Australia! Have a look at the UK, US, France, Germany… why are we so far behind?!

  10. Major TV Events, such as that ARIAS and the Logies, are delayed for several reasons. One is the logistics of feeding people but the other one and the most important one, is these shows are also “downstreamed” produced and directed. That is, whilst there is a full crew at the location, there is a producer and director in the main studio also directing the show to remove things that go wrong.

    A few years ago, I worked on the AFI and there was a major stuff up with a video piece which did not work in the event hall – the presenter was left staring at the big screen and nothing happened. That never went to air because the show was delayed by 30 minutes so it was edited out by the downstream crew.

    However, thats okay for staged TV events. For sports, its a completely different story. If you are going to pay the money to buy the rights and they bang on about it being live, then it should be live. I would have thought that was false advertising and the ACCC should be intervening.

    Bet you this one makes to ACA on Monday night ! I can almost hear the story opening “Once again Tennis Fans have been left sitting on the sidelines as the Seven Network….” they will then wheel in the usual suspects to comment on it.

    Free TV networks are idiots. All they are doing with this behaviour is playing into Foxtel’s demands for the anti-siphoning laws to be changed.

  11. David,I live in Queensland (where daylight saving is non-existant) and in my eyes this is the tip of the iceberg.
    For a network whose slogan in Queensland is “Love You Queensland” Seven never bothers to think of Queensland ahead of the “big two down south” (even though they have their problems too, like last night.) Since Daylight Saving started down south we don’t get the following programs live.
    Sunrise,The Morning Show,11am News,4:30 News,Today Tonight,Dancing With The Stars, The Federal Election coverage on 24/11 last year as well as any sport covered from NSW or VIC (which includes the Sydney International,Kooyong Classic and Australian Open tennis tournaments)between the end of October and April.

  12. i dont really care if it is on delay… as long as they dont spoil the result via a news break i really dont care.
    having a delayed telecast only causes problems when someone is watching the tennis and listening to it on the radio. if people would just watch or listen(no both) then there would never be a problem.

  13. and hartbeat is such a great show .. zzzz, surely common sense should of prevailed with the hewitt match being postponed ? 11:45PM start? at least it probably stole rateings away from the mint 🙂

  14. Another example is the ARIAS. I have been to the ceremony for the last 5 years and in the middle of the telecast we have a 20-30 min break where our meals are served.

    Also the ceremony starts at 6pm (from memory) and doesnt get telecast till 7:30pm (again from memory)

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