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‘It was on (the) line!’ Wimbledon enters the live streaming era

Wimbledon Online Streaming

Now that Lebron James has either secured his place in NBA lore or proven himself an insecure and ungracious champion (depending on if you’re from Miami or pretty much the rest of the world), and the Stanley cup has come to a (miraculous or horrifying, depending on whether you were rooting for Chicago or Boston) end, sports fans will have to look elsewhere to fill the void. Personally, it’s too early to for me to commit multiple nights a week to four-and-a-half hour baseball games. So … tennis anyone? Wimbledon, the most famous, most British of tournaments, started this week to the delight of tennis fans – and people who just like little shorts – everywhere.

But how do you watch the matches during the day if you have a job and/or you’re a Boston Bruins fan and put your foot through your flat screen television after the aforementioned Stanley Cup finale? Not to worry. Wimbledon’s got your back (or rump as the Brits say). The tournament so rich in its long-standing traditions that it famously requires players, even this guy, to wear all-white, has finally embraced the future, or at least the present, and is live-streaming the tournament on YouTube for the first time in its history.

You can view live video either on their YouTube page, or on Wimbledon.com directly. At their site, on top of the live video, the enhanced online experience features live blogs, scores, social media links, and IBM Slam Trackers (which are basically suped-up gamecasts). And while you can submit your “Shot of the Day” on Google+ (today’s contest is for images of you in a headband – go crazy!) or view tweeted pics of LMFAO at the tournament, what you can’t do is control the matches you’re able to watch. The live-stream basically works like the NFL Red Zone Channel, without all the hitting or touchdown celebrations, as it jumps in between matches and various player interviews based on the whims of some online producer – who, to be fair, likely knows a whole hell of a lot more about tennis than we do.

For an online feature, it’s an oddly passive experience very much like a traditional channel. But if you’re serious fan and can’t get enough of your favorite players such as Pospisil, Gravenci, Cetkovska, or Youzhny, and you actually know which of those names I made up, the experience will be an enjoyable one.

While allowing fans to watch matches online is a first for Wimbledon, it’s only YouTube’s latest play in the live-streaming game, the 2012 Summer Olympics being their most notable event to date. But as the viewing quality online and at home becomes nearly identical, we should all expect to watch more of our sports legally online in the future, especially events that take place overseas and are therefore not scheduled for American primetime. In the meantime, we can all get our Nadal fix on our computer screens where – What? He lost already? What a duece.