View Full Version : New article on the Tennis Channel

Feb 13th, 2003, 06:50 PM
From MediaLife Magazine:

_ Coming real soon,
the Tennis Channel

Err, better to say it's ambling onto the court in a bit

By Seth Magalaner

___At last hear the roar of the crowdor rather the polite clapping from the grandstand.
__ The Tennis Channel, originally due to launch in the summer of 2002, is finally launching, with it first airing of matches sometime in late March or early April.
__ "We have not picked an exact date yet," says Bruce Rider, executive vice president of programming and marketing, "but it will be by the end of the first quarter."
__ If Rider's timetable seems a bit vague, it in many ways captures the general mood around the channel's launch, almost one of nonchalance, never mind that it may be one of the most anticipated cable launches in recent history.
__ When it was first announced back in August of 2001, the channel was called by its backers the next big thing in cable, and so it seemed until its first delay from the summer 2002 debut. Now the channel seems to be tiptoeing backward onto the court.
___Yet we do know this.
__ The channel has significant distribution deals in place representing coverage in 38 percent of U.S. markets, including an agreement with Time Warner Cable that brings it into the tennis-savvy markets of Florida and Southern California._
__ In addition to airing major tennis matches, along with scads of lesser matches, the channel will offer insiderish news on the goings-on of the professional tennis world and tips to viewers on how to play a better game.
__ There'll also be the requisite celeb coverage of the sport's top stars.
__ The channel owns the rights to an extensive menu of tournaments, has signed equipment giant Wilson Racquet as a charter advertiser, and boasts the endorsement of stars like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi to say nothing of its biggest asset, the clamor from an attractive and affluent audience of tennis nuts.
__ Its backers include such names as Frank Biondi, former CEO of Viacom, and David L. Meister, chairman and CEO of the channel, and a former top executive at HBO and former CEO of the Financial News Network._
__ The selection of the respected but well-traveled Chris Myers as the channel's first on-air hire ensures that the brand will have a familiar feel.
___Despite all this or maybe because of all this the channel's taking a very understated approach to its launch.
__ "There are an awful lot of moving pieces that have to line up to get a network on the air. We're making great headway," Rider says, "but we don't want to throw a launch date out and disappoint people by missing it."
__ When it launches, the channel will have some 35 staffers, but much of the hiring won't take place until a launch date is set, says Larry Meyers, vice president of production.
___ "We'll be going from startup to full staff virtually overnight," says Meyers, who notes that the group is still operating out of startup offices.
__ If this all seems very casual, it makes increasing sense when you consider the nature of the network's programming. Much of that, certainly in the early stages, will be live tournament coverage, which will be good for some 50-60 hours per week of content.
__ For the tennis faithful, those fans who will be the channel's earliest audience, that will be more than enough to hold them until the channel refines such offerings as a nightly one-hour tennis news block and original series.
__ It is these later offerings that will bring in the not-necessarily-tennis faithfuls, and that is where the network sees it real potential.
___ "We don't win if we only preach to the choir," cautions Meyers, an ESPN and FSN veteran.
___ But for now the channel fully appreciates the alliance it has with the faithful, knowing if need be it could roll out little more than a C-Span in white shorts and still be wildly appreciated.
__ "We have a great infrastructure for promotion right there," says Rider.
__ "I've seen a lot of networks overspend and overextend themselves getting started. No network starts big. ESPN was tiny, many years ago. We will grow, hopefully quickly."

Feb 13th, 2003, 07:02 PM

Feb 13th, 2003, 07:10 PM
That doesn't sound too reassuring... but I'm hoping they do start in April. 50-60 hours a week of tennis coverage... *drools*.

Feb 13th, 2003, 08:57 PM
will this be on directv?

Feb 13th, 2003, 10:03 PM
do you think it will come over to Europe then too? it better Ive ben waiting along time for this channel!!!!!

Feb 13th, 2003, 10:08 PM
I would think that the Tennis Channel would almost HAVE to be on Direct TV. If its not carried by a major satellite provider, then how is it going to make enough money to stay going? If it shows any sort of promise or popularity (let's all hope :D ), then it will also be picked up by a major digital cable provider. Time will tell.

Feb 14th, 2003, 12:22 AM
i give up

Feb 14th, 2003, 12:27 AM
it's not in my market... thanks to Cox Communications :(:(:(

Feb 14th, 2003, 12:34 AM
I don't get it either...I hope they come soon though!!!!!!!!!

Dawn Marie
Feb 14th, 2003, 02:23 AM
I have Time Warner but I want to know will it be on regular cable or Digital?

Feb 14th, 2003, 06:43 AM
Most likely digital, but we can hope it will be on regular tv. I'm willing to switch to digital for it, if it is even offered.

Dawn Marie
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:46 AM
That is exactly what I was thinking. I will pay extra and get digital if I cannot receive it thru regular cable.

Feb 14th, 2003, 06:49 AM
Does anyone know if it will be on AT&T Broadband?:confused:

Feb 14th, 2003, 07:11 AM
I really hope it starts by end of first quarter. But I only have digital cable at home so I can only see it there. I don't think the landlord of the apartment where I live for college will supply digital cable. ;) I will only have ESPN, ESPN2, and Fox Sports. :o

Feb 14th, 2003, 11:03 AM
Hey Pinkie...thanks for posting that article...was wondering what the heck had happened to it...? I must say though, I'm not very confidant in the American public to tune in and make it successful. Hope I'm wrong and that it works...it would be a welcome surprise.

Thanks again...:wavey: