Tennis Channel Becomes Exclusive U.S. Home of ATP Tennis
Tennis Channel and ATP Media, the broadcast arm of the ATP as the governing body of men’s professional tennis, have concluded a multiyear television and digital rights deal that will make the network the exclusive U.S. television home of the majority of ATP Tour events. As part of an agreement that begins in 2021, the channel will be the sole American broadcaster of the high-profile ATP Masters 1000 events – tournaments that are surpassed in prestige only by the sport’s four majors (the Grand Slams). This means that for the first time Tennis Channel viewers will watch all of these competitions live from opening day through the trophy presentations. The network has had live coverage at all of these events in the past, but now will show all matches at ATP Masters 1000 events played in North America.
In total, the agreement gives Tennis Channel exclusive, live television rights to all nine ATP Masters 1000 events, all 13 ATP 500s and 16 of the ATP 250 tournaments, as well as the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. Through other rights agreements the network also covers most of the other ATP 250 tournaments, the rising-star Next Gen ATP Finals, and ATP Cup national team competition that was inaugurated in January 2020. Under the new agreement, Tennis Channel will base its on-air talent at an on-site tournament desk at each of the ATP Masters 1000 events for the first time.
“Tennis Channel and ATP Media have worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to expand the daily TV, streaming and on-demand coverage of this prolific sport across all popular platforms, and in doing so are making tennis competitive once again with other major sports in the U.S.,” said Ken Solomon, president, Tennis Channel. “Our combined work with parent Sinclair Broadcast Group has made Tennis Channel America’s fastest growing network for the past two years, allowing millions of returning and new fans to enjoy the ATP’s Tour’s scale and quality, which are unmatched in all of professional sports.”
Tennis Channel will showcase these matches on television and through its streaming-service Tennis Channel Plus, and support ATP Tour events via its print Tennis Magazine, its digital Baseline newsletter, podcast network, website, social media channels and international digital subscription service. It also plans to work with nationwide media partners of parent-company Sinclair Broadcast Group to expand awareness and build viewership for ATP Tour events.
“Tennis Channel’s continuing partnership provides a compelling media model – a dedicated national television network complemented by a tennis dedicated streaming service and supported by robust original tennis content seamlessly integrated across all platforms – has greatly elevated the awareness and popularity of our sport for players, tournaments, fans and the ATP Tour,” said Mark Webster, chief executive officer, ATP Media. “We’re excited to embrace a future of continued rapid growth with this new arrangement. The ATP Tour and its stars are stronger than ever and in prime position to further expand our fast-growing U.S. fan base.”
Week after week, from January to late November, the ATP Tour showcases an assembly of the world’s best athletes competing all over the globe. The ATP Tour categorizes its tournaments based off the number of FedEx ATP Rankings points at stake for each event. The last tournament of the year, the Nitto ATP Finals, determines a season-end champion.
Because of this agreement, the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells), Miami Open presented by Itau (Miami), Rogers Cup (Toronto/Montreal), and Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati) will join all of the other ATP Masters 1000 events, which have been covered by Tennis Channel for years. These are the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (Monte Carlo, Monaco), Mutua Madrid Open (Madrid, Spain), Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Rolex Shanghai Masters (Shanghai) and Rolex Paris Masters (Paris). The network expects to show close to 900 matches from the ATP Masters 1000 events and the Nitto ATP Finals next year, accounting for more than 1,750 live hours dedicated to these competitions.
Tennis Channel has a similar rights package with the WTA, the governing body of women’s professional tennis. With the new ATP rights agreement’s start in 2021, the network will be the live television and digital home to almost all professional tennis events.