ESPN will be broadcasting the 2023 Australian Open from its studios in Connecticut. The sports network has decided that it will not send its commentator crew to Melbourne.
Australia does not have any COVID-19-related travel restrictions. So ESPN’s move to cover the first grand slam of the year remotely is motivated by its ambition to save cost.
The Australian Open is scheduled to be held from January 16 to January 29, 2023. Last year, the tournament was mired with controversy after Novak Djokovic was denied a visa for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine and was deported just before the beginning of the tournament.
Last year, ESPN signed a nine-year deal giving the network rights to cover the Australian Open until 2031. ESPN has come under fire in recent years for not showing tennis events on its main channels – ESPN and ESPN 2 – even when it has the rights to show matches live.
ESPN will also cover Wimbledon this year. It remains to be seen if that coverage will also be remote. Tennis Channel also routinely covers matches from its studios to save costs.