After months of silence and fans sitting around and waiting to find out where they can watch the WTA product, they were rewarded for their patience with the announcement of the launch of WTA TV. At the time of writing, I have subscribed to this online streaming service and I am currently watching Mertens and Krunic battle it out in Bastad, Sweden.
A few years ago I wrote a piece in which I called on the WTA to launch its own tv service. I posited the view then that outlets like Tennis Channel were holding the WTA to ransom by neglecting to show its product and asking fans to pay extra to watch the WTA by subscribing to TC Plus, Tennis Channel’s online streaming platform. Many tennis fans, especially those in the US not only had to pay extra on their cable or satellite network to get Tennis Channel, but then they had to pay more money just to get to see the women. To compound matters even more
So as a public service to all the tennis fans out there, I have taken it upon myself to review WTATV. As part of the review process, I have done the following:-
- Checked App availability on iOS
- Checked App availability on Android
- Checked browsers (Chrome, Firefox and IE)
- Reviewed the various features on the site itself
As at the time of writing this piece (between 27 and 31 July), the WTATV app is not available as an app. I have checked on my iPhone and my Samsung and it is not available as an App. I have also asked the question of tennis fans on social media and I can confirm that as of now there is no app. The WTA website indicates that WTA TV is available on your mobile phone, tablet and computer, however, when you click the images on the site it does not take you to an app. As a matter of fact it takes you nowhere.
The big complaint that I have received from many fans is that the WTA TV site has been marked as a phishing site and that you should not plug in your credit card information as it will get stolen. I have told folks that I got the website by clicking the WTATV link on the WTA website and it took me straight to the web page where I was able to sign up. Unfortunately, over the weekend, I checked all three browsers and this is what I am getting.
I note that you cannot just input wtatv.com or https://wtatv.com in your browser window and get to WTATV. You will either have to search for it and then either enter through the WTA website or scroll down to the site itself, as I did in this test. Surely, there can’t be that many WTATV sites around. The WTA should do more to ensure that the site is easily found on all search engines and that it is not blocked as a phishing site to most web blockers.
This leads me to the biggest issue that I have with the service so far, the fact that one cannot access the site via an app. The WTA has had the better part of a year to get this done. The WTA surely did not decide to drop TennisTV and launch its own web based service. It must have had meetings with website designers as well as persons in the know about how to launch a product that would be the face of women’s tennis. To not even have an app either in development or indeed ready to launch is yet another indictment on Steve Simon and the WTA and its intention regarding women’s tennis.
One of the things that I was expecting to see more than anything on WTATV were historical matches. It did not need to go back to the start of women’s tennis, but it would have been nice if the WTA had some of its classic matches. On the TennisTV website, one can watch classic ATP tennis matches that go back all the way to 2001. It would have been nice if the WTA TV site at least provided classic matches for the last 5 years of the WTA. Some quick pointers on what is available. Under the features tab, there are interviews with the players from various tournaments during the course of this year.
I like the fact that under the matches that are going to be shown live, there is a count down clock which tells you how long until you can watch matches. For those of us who live outside the US, it is sometimes hard to know when matches starts in the different US time zones. This is quite helpful.
Under the On Demand tab, you can find match highlights for most of the WTA events that have been held this year.
Under this tab is a Q&A on what tournaments are available. If you have no idea of the various WTA events, this is as good a place as any to get started.
All in all I am about 50% happy with the site. I wish there was more in terms of classic matches, and more archival information. The Q&A which is posted on the site is as unhelpful as anything I have ever come across. It would bode the WTA well to look at the spelling errors on the website, especially in the Q&A section.
As one of those people who have always been of the view that the WTA should have its own dedicated television channel and streaming service, I am quite happy that it has finally done so. I know a lot of tennis fans are of the view that they should not be paying 2 different sums of money in order to watch either men’s or women’s tennis, unfortunately, that is the word that we now inhabit. One can only hope that the powers that be in tennis will at some point get their lives together and realise that at no point should tennis fans have to spend at a minimum US$150.00 per annum just to be able to watch tennis.
Tournaments This Week
The Tour as most folks know kicks off the US Open Series which is apparently without a title sponsor this year. This week we get to see for the first time matches from Day One at the Citi Open, which features Simona Halep as the top seed. On the other side of the country, is the Premier level Bank of the West Classic, which sees Garbine Muguruza as the top seed. Both tournaments have the requisite big names, some of whom will be looking to jump start their seasons with a much a much needed win.
Also returning to the Tour from a hip injury is Maria Sharapova, who will be competing at the BOTW courtesy of a wild card.
Victoria Azarenka who was also scheduled to compete at the BOTW has withdrawn due to a viral illness.