Both ESPN and Tennis Channel announced this morning the renewal of a rights deal that keeps the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals on both networks. In addition, ESPN and Tennis Channel pick up the March tournaments in Indian Wells, CA and Miami, FL, both of which are run in conjunction with the WTA Tour. For Indian Wells, ABC gets the semifinals and finals. CBS airs the finals of the Miami tournament. Over the last couple of years, Indian Wells and Miami were carried by Fox Sports Net and got sporadic coverage leaving many fans in the dark.
Now with Tennis Channel and ESPN2 picking up the spring tournaments, tennis fans will know where to find the action. ESPN3.com has the streaming rights for the tournaments.
We have two press releases, one from Tennis Channel and the other from ESPN. First, the one from Tennis Channel.
TENNIS CHANNEL EXTENDS ATP WORLD TOUR RIGHTS DEAL, WHICH INCLUDES YEAR-END CHAMPIONSHIPS AND EVENTS IN MIAMI AND INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
Five-Year Agreement Continues Network’s Coverage of all ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Tournaments
More than 600 Live Hours Planned Across 19 Men’s Events in 2011, as Tennis Channel Remains Top Provider of Men’s Tennis on United States Television
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 23, 2010 -Tennis Channel has renewed its telecast rights agreement with the ATP World Tour, the governing body in men’s tennis, which will keep the tour’s most prominent events on the network through 2015. Paramount among the 19 tournaments included in the deal are the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and high-profile ATP World Tour Masters 1000 competitions in Miami and Indian Wells, Calif. The latter are among the most popular events in professional tennis, annually competed in by virtually every one of the game’s greats.The other seven ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments will also remain on Tennis Channel, which will continue to provide more live men’s tennis coverage per year than all other U.S. broadcasters combined. Under the new arrangement, the network will actually expand the amount of live time it dedicates to ATP World Tour events throughout the year, adding a projected 30 additional hours in 2011 for more than 600 overall.“We’re thrilled to extend the great relationship we have with the ATP World Tour, which has made its home on Tennis Channel since our beginning,” said David Scott, vice president, programming, Tennis Channel. “Tennis Channel viewers will continue to watch the season-long journey of stars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick week after week, all year long on our network.”The ATP World Tour categorizes tournaments according to the number of points that they award to their champions. Of the 19 events in Tennis Channel’s telecast rights renewal, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals offers the most points to its winner, 1,500 overall. All nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events (each offering 1,000 points) are included in the deal: BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells, Calif.), Sony Ericsson Open (Miami), Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (Monaco), Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open (Madrid, Spain), Rogers Cup (Toronto), Western & Southern Financial Group Masters (Cincinnati), Shanghai Rolex Masters (Shanghai, China) and BNP Paribas Masters (Paris).The other nine tournaments in the rights agreement are 500-level events. These are: ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Abierto Mexicano Telcel (Acapulco, Mexico), Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), Barcelona Open BancSabadell (Barcelona, Spain), German Open Tennis Championships (Hamburg, Germany), China Open (Beijing), Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (Tokyo), Swiss Indoors Basel (Basel, Switzerland) and Valencia Open 500 (Valencia, Spain).Coverage of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami is a significant component of the telecast rights extension. Each of the March competitions has been called “The Fifth Slam” within the industry, and both feature tournament fields surpassed in size only by Wimbledon, the US Open, French Open and Australian Open. Tennis Channel will offer the most live television coverage of each, with 75 hours in Indian Wells and 56 hours in Miami. Depending on the event, matches range from early rounds to semifinals, while both doubles finals will air live on the network. The channel will also present encore coverage of these matches and later-round semifinal and championship play. In all, Tennis Channel will present viewers with more than 300 hours of Indian Wells and Miami matches next spring.A final new piece of Tennis Channel’s agreement involves expanded court options during ATP World Tour Masters 1000 coverage. Traditionally, Tennis Channel’s overseas ATP World Tour Masters 1000 telecasts have featured a single court as provided by the ATP’s world feed. Beginning in 2011, the network will have the option of three courts per international Masters 1000 event, and will be able to follow the action back and forth between each in order to give viewers the most exciting live play of the moment.All ATP World Tour Masters 1000 coverage on Tennis Channel is in high definition, as are all Grand Slam and domestic tournament broadcasts.
And here’s the announcement from ESPN.
New Agreement for ATP World Tour Finals; Indian Wells & Miami Return to ESPN Networks
Extensive Season-Long Action on ESPN3.comIn a wide-ranging multiyear agreement with ATP Media, the year-end ATP World Tour Finals will continue on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com, while the jointly held ATP and WTA tournaments in Indian Wells, Calif., and in Miami every March will return to ESPN networks in 2011. In addition, ESPN3.com will carry an extensive year-long schedule of ATP World Tour action from top events.
The ATP World Tour Finals, held in London, brings together the top eight ranked players in the world with round-robin play leading to a final match aired live on ESPN2. For 2011, the network will also televise one semifinal on tape delay while ESPN3.com will show the entire event. For later years, the television schedule will be expanded.
With top fields of the best men’s and women’s players, the BNP Paribas Open, held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in the Palm Springs area, and the Sony Ericsson Open from the Tennis Center at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne island, are widely considered the two biggest tournaments in the world outside the four Grand Slam events. ESPN2 will televise the men’s quarterfinals and women’s semifinals from California Friday, March 18, with the men’s semifinals on ABC on Saturday, March 19, and the men’s and women’s finals on ABC on Sunday, March 20. In Miami, ESPN2 will carry the quarterfinals and semifinals. The finals will remain on CBS. At both events, ESPN3.com will provide extensive coverage throughout the competition and will also simulcast ESPN2’s matches.
ESPN2 last televised these hardcourt events in 2007, having aired each for many years, including the Florida tournament since 1985. The events are two of the nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments and are two of the four mandatory events on the WTA tour.
In addition, the agreement calls for ESPN3.com to offer all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and nine of the 11 ATP World Tour 500 events, totaling hundreds of hours of live tennis annually.
“We’re very pleased to bring these top-tier events back to ESPN and to have worked with ATP Media to expand the footprint of their events from coast-to-coast,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions. “ESPN3.com continues to grow as a destination for tennis fans seeking the best players and events, and these tournaments reaffirm ESPN3.com as the unquestioned year-round home for live professional tennis.”
Steve Plasto, CEO, ATP Media, said, “This is great news for tennis fans in the U.S. who can now look forward to fantastic ESPN2 coverage of two additional ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, as well as the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the exciting climax to the season where only the Top eight singles and doubles teams in the world compete.”
That does it.