Wimbledon Live: Everything But Streamed Strawberries And Cream — For A Fee

For the second year running, online broadcaster MediaZone will be the center of broadband access to all things Wimbledon whether it’s free or subscription live and on-demand. The core offering is Wimbledon Live, the subscription package that includes 300-plus matches with full match coverage of all Centre Court and Court 1 and seven other courts, offering up to nine matches at a time. On demand matches can be streamed or downloaded; the downloads are not portable. The price: @24.95 (£12.50) for the full monty. Day passes are $4.99 (£2.50) until the semi and final rounds, which run $7.99 (£4.00). The feeds are from MediaZone and the world feed. (It’s all based on Windows Media Player DRM so no Mac OS or Linux.) More after the jump:

One major difference this year: Advertising: We’ve learned that MediaZone will insert 30-second pre-and-post roll ads for every match. The ads will open as soon as the player loads whether it’s for live streaming or on demand. Charter advertisers include Quantas, Marriott and Chase. Mariana Danilovic, VP-business development, called the ads an experiment and said it was “very limited.”

ESPN-Star Sports deal opens Asia: Until today — literally — MediaZone’s FAQ warned that live streaming wouldn’t be available in India, China, Hong Kong and more. That’s changed thanks to a last-minute deal with ESPN-Star Sports that opens up Asia for live streaming, according to MediaZone sports head Chris Ott. The only countries completely excluding live access for now: France and Spain. Some matches may not be available in Japan. The on-demand service is available in all territories.

ESPN, NBC Sports: MediaZone has co-branding deals with both U.S. rights holders. ESPN360.com will show a live stream of one court as part of that service while NBCSports.com will offer free highlights, previews and interviews. Both are meant to encourage subscriptions to Wimbledon Live; affiliates get 5-10 percent of day passes or subscriptions sold through their site.

— The 2007 subscription includes the archives from last year along with classic matches from previous years and highlights. It also comes with something that may have been done before but I haven’t seen — a pdf version of the official program
“to enhance their overall experience of ‘nearly being there.'” A virtual replica for a virtual experience.

— Wimbledon Live isn’t all pay. Some archived matches and highlights are being offered free as a way to try out the service. (If you want to test your endurance for watching long matches online try the 2005 Federer-Roddick final.) The matches can be downloaded or streamed.