By Jane Voigt
The image of a tennis fan relaxed on a cushy couch with remote in hand while snacking on baked veggie chips is only partially correct. The baked snack is normal.
Enter the electronic era of tennis match viewing where Apps, Tweets, and live streaming via smart phones, tablets and laptops go hand-in-hand with traditional methods of viewing and snacking. However, all those electronics can create such a swirl of possibilites that fans could miss out on the tennis action.
So are we facing distracted viewing, the way highway patrol contends with distracted drivers?
If we could peer inside the personal confines of an avid tennis fan, we would probably spot a smart phone, maybe a tablet nearby, an HDTV for sure, and perhaps a laptop.
Our fan turned on TV early to watch Roland Garros. At the same time she fired up the laptop and opened Twitter to catchup with tweets from around the world, some about Paris tennis, some about friends, and some having nothing to do with either or maybe her kitten that had taunted robins in the back garden over the last couple days. All this could have been done on her smart phone, too, because it was never off. Our fan used it for an alarm clock.
In this day and era, she knew of no reason to watch one match chosen by producers from Los Angeles or any other major media hub. She could select a match or matches, we will find out, from any number of electronic sources scattered about her living room.
This, we begin to realize, is the starting line for distracted viewing.
She could stream live matches on the smart phone, tablet or laptop using the Tennis Channel Everywhere app, for instance. It showed five courts, if broadcasting through cable. Or, she could tap the app, Watch ESPN, on her phone and stream away there, too. Or access ESPN Tennis online through her laptop. It had a link to Court Cast. Voila … six courts a la carte if ESPN2 was live on air.
Then she could split the screens and watch multiple matches. Audio mumbo jumbo could thwarted her experience, so she muted the device and discovered how fascinating tennis was with no audio, tweeted her discovery and uploaded the news to her Facebook timeline.
In those social interaction moments, driven by a desire to share and connect, a game from the Tommy Haas/John Isner match, or two depending on their pace, had come and gone. No problem. If the points were exceptional, ESPN’s Sports Center would show them later, or she could text a buddy and have her describe what she missed which would be ideal because she would not have to wait until 6 local time for Sports Center.
Since the IBM Slam Tracker, provided by the Roland Garros website, awaited a click, she diverted to that in order to catch up with scores from around the grounds and discovered that American Jamie Hampton was up on Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova.
She woke up the phone. Tapped the Tennis Channel app. Got the match going and could not believe how sharp the image was and how happy she was that Hampton might move on to the second week where the big and important players meet.
The familiar ding of an incoming text rattled her mind. She read it, responded, and could not help but click on the picture her friend sent in the text which she instantly uploaded to Facebook and Twitter. While there she scrolled down, found a link to the birth rate of robins and the percentage of fledglings that live past the first week of their lives if a cat occupies the house where the nest was built. While she read that dismal news, she caught a glimpse of a tweet about Nadal’s press conference, opened that link, and read about his insistence that tournament directors make his priorities their priorities or he would tell Uncle Toni.
Now, where was she?
Depending on your age, most probably, the above described scene could produce nothing or send you running for a beer. If you relate easily then your are a product of youth, which is immersed in electronics to the point they can multitask and not blink an eye. If you are on the couch with the remote, beer, and potato chips then you probably turned on televisions using a pull-button located on the front of a set for a number of years during your youth.
Either way … try not to get distracted because the tennis at Roland Garros will just get better as the rounds of play move on.