We can only hope that as soon as tennis starts at the first Pique Cup, everything will go smoothly.
But at the moment, the situation on the broadcast and streaming parties is as confusing and frustrating as possible.
We spent all morning trying to figure out exactly how tennis fans can watch the Davis Cup final.
And, more specifically, how they can observe relationships that do not affect their home country.
The press release announces that the Davis Cup final will be broadcast on "41 television channels of the world, covering more than 171 countries."
But it is difficult.
With the participation of 18 countries, a tennis table could potentially appear this week. But if people cannot find it or access it, does this really happen?
Madrid Ticket Sales Terrible for Davis Cup Finals
US Fans Must Look Long and Hard
The USTA only announced details of the Pique Cup broadcast Friday afternoon, even if the above-mentioned press release of November 6 announced that it would be broadcast on Fox in the United States.
Most fans would suggest that it was on the Tennis Channel, given its mandate to … broadcast tennis, its multi-threaded broadcast and coverage of the Davis Cup in the past.
Yes, and the fact that next week there will be no other top-level live tennis.
But this is not the case.
Instead, links with U.S. participation will be broadcast on … Fox Sports 2.
From the representative of the Cosmos:
“The tennis channel did own the Davis Cup rights in the past, but expired last year. When Cosmos took over the rights starting in 2019, we decided to change the broadcaster on the American tennis channel at some point to those interested, like the others, but we decided to use the mixed formula Rakuten Sports OTT + Fox. ”
We are trying to remember the last time we watched tennis on Fox Sports (second channel, not even the main Fox Sports channel). We came empty. It is hard to know how many tennis fans actually subscribe to it, if it's not in the main grid. Or how many will try to add it to their packages for a week.
Americans, meet Rakuten Sports
Now, if you are a tennis fan who wants to watch Novak Djokovic and Serbia, or Rafael Nadal and Spain, or Khachanov, Medvedev and the Russians, you should turn to … Rakuten Sports.
You ask what is Rakuten Sports? Well, this is a new streaming service that was launched in June. At the moment, it seems that the only programming is the episodes of something called “Iniesta TV” – a reality show about the Spanish football star Andres Iniesta, who plays for the team in Kobe, Japan.
Rakuten also sponsors the new Pique Cup for 2019 and 2020, which later became the Davis Cup from Rakuten.
It is noteworthy that, according to Space, the USA is the only country that will have access to the Davis Cup programs. It promises backstage access, press conferences, all the cool stuff.
We just signed up for it. At a price of $ 4.99, this looks very profitable. But this is as long as you have a VPN or other way to make them think that you are in the USA if you live somewhere else.
The stream does not mean that most fans would like to watch on weekends. It seems that there are no live broadcasts from the stadiums, as the teams go through their training steps.
But he has a collection of 52-minute brilliant Davis Cup Finals packages since 2010.
Canada has Sportsnet1 – and ITF streams
Abroad, Canada seems to be a little better served by the copyright holder of the Davis Cup, Sportsnet. May be?
Canadian ties (the first of which is against Italy on Monday, starting at 10am EST) will be broadcast.
But it will not be on the main channels of Sportsnet. Instead, as is often the case with Davis Cup ties (previously held on weekends), it will be broadcast on Sportsnet 1. This is a channel not available to everyone.
Sportsnet's main channels will be busy … with darts and poker. And replays of hockey games.
But on Wednesday, for example, when Canada is not playing, the Davis Cup is not on the schedule.
We are trying to find out on the network whether it plans to add any additional connections – at least to its SportsnetNow streaming service. (You can access this streaming service by logging in through your cable provider. We cannot confirm whether you can watch it online if you do not have Sportsnet 1 as part of your cable package. We think so. If there are any of our Canadian readers, you can confirm this, we will add information here).
On the other hand, Canadians can take advantage of the Davis Cup / ITF streaming service, which will have all the connections. But, it seems, not the backstage materials and materials for press conferences that Rakuten has to offer in the USA.
If you have not signed up yet, then the package is available for a week.
But what it is remains unclear. More on this below.
Euro is better
On the plus side, countries where Eurosport has broadcast rights — or even anywhere you can sign up for a Eurosport player — are much better.
Accordingly, this means the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.
Get a monthly subscription that is minimal. For £ 6.99 (12 US dollars, 9 US dollars, 8 euros)It looks like you can see every tie on the player.
Streaming Davis Cup / ITF
If the ITF and the people from Outer Space seem to be a collaborative effort for this updated Davis Cup event, this definitely doesn't affect the availability of streaming.
While a Kosmos spokesperson confirmed that the Davis Cup website would have connections accessible to Canada, he sent any other questions … to the ITF, which “controls this channel, not Cosmos.”
Well then everything is fine.
When we first started learning this on Sunday morning, there was literally nothing on the site about the Davis Cup final.
This is what we saw.
Slowly, over the last hour or so – remember, it all starts … tomorrow morning … various matches began to appear on the schedule.
If you already signed up for the Davis Cup / Fed Fed annual streaming service (for £ 39.99 a year, it was a huge value, with four rounds of Davis Cup connections, but now it's a waste of money), you're already good at it.
Two package options – after all
For the rest, it seems that there are two options: the “round pack” for 7.99 euros and the “individual tie” option.
Except … at the moment, the “bundle package” option cannot be pressed. And, if you go to another match, he does not say “tie bag”; rather, it looks like an individual match.
(We repeat – it all starts in less than 24 hours).
UPDATE: After all, after the period when the second option was an annual subscription (also inactive), they now have it to the point where the second option is valid.
This is called a tie bag. And this allows you to buy ONE three matches of your choice for 4.99 euros.
We are still not quite sure what is included in the “round package” for 7.99 euros.
Just to make it even more complicated, there is a list of 15 countries, including many large tennis countries, whose fans are out of luck.
Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain and … Sint Maarten (a small island in the Caribbean, which is a protectorate of the Netherlands).
We hope that these fans will have streaming capabilities for other connections (or any connections, in the case of Finland, Switzerland or China) provided by their copyright holder.
Hard to find – anywhere
So what's the point?
Tennis fans, as is usually difficult … in fact, to watch tennis in the best of times, it seems that this first event will set new records for disappointment.
It can also create a little crush for … alternative viewing options. We all know who they are.
And this will only deprive the ITF and Cosmos (who promised the ITF money for the privilege of managing it) of even greater income.
All this seems at the last minute, both random and disorganized – and, above all, it feels like two separate entities start their show … inside the same show.
We hear a lot of rumbles about the situation in the USA, from which we can only conclude that the price that Cosmos set for the broadcast rights of this week-long tennis festival was … quite ambitious.
People of the Cosmos, as you think, would be very motivated to do everything possible to create a "new" event as a must for tennis at the end of a long season.
Tennis enthusiasts' reaction to a complete restructuring to eliminate home and away relationships after a preliminary round at the beginning of the year was, for the most part, negative.
So they had an even bigger mountain to climb.
Last minute burning disappointment
You might think that they will try to get their new and very expensive purchase in front of the largest number of eyeballs possible – either by offering several free packages, or at least by disseminating the information comprehensively.
There are no links to any streaming options on the Davis Cup Final website. Wherever. There is no page describing what network fans can watch in different countries (despite what was promised in the press release).
There are only links to purchase tickets. And that also turned out to be a problem.
In less than 24 hours (did we mention this?) The only matches that were sold out were two group ties involving the host country, Spain. And this includes the semi-finals and finals.
The content on the official website makes it clear that promoting tourism in Madrid (which is an “institutional partner”) is a more important priority than being able to watch people. (You can get discounts on various things if you visit the city. But it's all in Spanish, so good luck.)
On the Davis Cup website itself, package purchase information is still old since there have been several rounds of home and away connections.
But if you are not in one of the disconnected countries and want to subscribe to streaming, the link is here.
Good luck. You need it.
“Honestly, I'm a little nervous. … "We hope that the fans will have a good time and that the competition will be exciting for everyone," said Gerard Piquet, Barcelona football star and founder of the Cosmos group, on Friday at the Associated Press.
It seems that he has a reason to be a little nervous, as the event will begin soon.