Tennis Channel, ATP World Tour Renew Long-time Telecast-Rights Partnership
Tennis Channel, the ATP World Tour (the governing body of men’s professional tennis), and its broadcast arm ATP Media have renewed their longtime telecast rights partnership, keeping the top tournaments in the sport on the network for years to come. The multiyear agreement includes 21 annual men’s Masters 1000- and 500-level events, among them March’s prestigious tournaments in Southern California and Miami, in addition to the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
In 2015, these 22 events — stretching from early February to late November — accounted for more than 600 live matches and well beyond 1,000 hours of tennis, and routinely featured the sport’s most accomplished stars, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and others. As part of the new agreement, Tennis Channel will add to its live coverage beginning in 2016, and will have exclusive television and authenticated-digital rights for all but four of the Masters 1000- and 500-level events.
“We are delighted to renew our long-term partnership with Tennis Channel as they provide an outstanding service to the tennis fan in the U.S.,” said Mark Webster, CEO, ATP Media. “Furthermore, we look forward to a superb collaboration to showcase the finest tennis players competing at the world’s most exciting venues.”
Tennis Channel has had a television partnership with the ATP World Tour since 2003, the network’s first year on air. With this renewal the channel will continue to provide more live men’s tennis coverage each year than all other U.S. broadcasters combined.
“Tennis Channel has been the television home of men’s tennis for more than a decade, and our partnership with the ATP World Tour has continued to expand over those years,” said Jeremy Langer, vice president, programming, Tennis Channel. “Center Court, our Los Angeles-based studio coverage of the ATP and WTA tours, has been a key innovation leading to record-breaking viewership in the U.S. at a time when other networks are experiencing significant audience erosion. The ATP World Tour recognizes our contribution to the health of the sport and, working with them, we’re really looking forward to enhancing their brand with more Hall of Fame studio talent and expert analysis, and remaining the year-round source of the best televised tennis in the world.”
The ATP World Tour assigns Emirates ATP Rankings points to each tournament, with events organized according to the total points their champions receive. Of the 22 tournaments in the rights renewal, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals offers 1,500 points to its singles and doubles champions, the highest of any ATP sanctioned tournament. Tennis Channel’s agreement secures the rights to all nine Masters 1000-level tournaments: BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells, CA), Miami Open presented by Itaú (Miami), Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (Monaco), Mutua Madrid Open (Madrid, Spain), Internazionali BNL D’Italia (Rome), Rogers Cup (Montreal/Toronto), Western and Southern Open (Cincinnati), Shanghai Rolex Masters (Shanghai), and BNP Paribas Masters (Paris). In the case of the combined U.S. men’s and women’s competitions in Indian Wells, Miami, and Cincinnati, Tennis Channel will also cover women’s WTA Tour matches, with the likes of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
The 12 other tournaments under the extended partnership represent almost the entire ATP World Tour 500-level slate: ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Rio Open presented by Claro (Rio de Janeiro), Abierto Mexicano Telcel (Acapulco, Mexico), Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), Barcelona Open BancSabadell (Barcelona, Spain), Gerry Weber Open (Halle, Germany), Aegon Championships (London), bet-at-home Open (Hamburg, Germany), China Open (Beijing), Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (Tokyo), Swiss Indoors Basel (Basel, Switzerland), and Erste Bank Open (Vienna). Tennis Channel has a separate agreement with the only other 500-level event, the Citi Open in Washington, and is the exclusive television and digital rights holder.
With the exception of Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal/Toronto, Cincinnati, and five matches at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Tennis Channel will be the exclusive television home for the ATP’s most important events in upcoming years. It will also be the only U.S. television network with digital coverage of these matches, via TV Everywhere authentication.
This week Tennis Channel is carrying extensive live coverage of the eight-day Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, one of the most exclusive competitions on the annual men’s calendar. Only the top-eight singles and doubles points earners of the year qualify for the tournament, which features a round-robin format with major champions battling one another throughout the week. The network is televising every match of the entire event via daylong live coverage and 12-hour nightly encores. In all, Tennis Channel has devoted 120 hours to showcasing its crowning event as the men’s season comes to an end.
Likewise, the channel will remain the television home of the annual March tournaments in Southern California and Miami, which are commonly referred to as tennis’ “Fifth Slams.” Only the four majors — Wimbledon, the US Open, French Open, and Australian Open — have larger player fields than the Southern California and Miami events, and winning either of the two ranks high on players’ list of career accomplishments. In 2015, Tennis Channel devoted 185 live hours, and 510 overall, to coverage at these events, spread across 25 days of tournament play.
As Tennis Channel’s 2015 tournament lineup comes to a close, the network has had a season to remember from a ratings standpoint. Weekly audiences have been up by an average of 24% each week throughout the year, one of the best in network history.