View Full Version : Tennis Channel Sets Sights On Fed Cup As First Telecast

Apr 14th, 2003, 09:59 PM
Tennis Channel Sets Sights On Fed Cup As First Telecast

By Tennis Week

The Tennis Channel has set its sights on a star-studded launch. The Tennis Channel has targeted the United States first-round Fed Cup tie scheduled for April 26-27th as its first telecast.

The United States will host the Czech Republic in the first-round tie, which will be played at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Mass. Top-ranked Serena Williams, third-ranked Venus Williams, Meghann Shaughnessy and Alexandra Stevenson form the U.S. squad captained by Billie Jean King.

The tie marks the first time Serena and Venus have represented the United States in an international team competition since Venus won the gold medal in singles and teamed with Serena to strike gold in doubles on the American team King captained at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games. The star power of the Williams sisters makes the tie an appealing event for the Tennis Channel's debut.

The Tennis Channel has scheduled a conference call with the media tomorrow in which Channel president and founder Steve Bellamy, chairman and CEO David Meister are expected to announce the Fed Cup tie as the Channel's first telecast. In addition, Bellamy and Meister also plan to discuss distribution, programming and tournament rights deals for the 24-hour cable television network.

The Tennis Channel initially planned a tentative launch date of December, 2002, but during a series of interviews with Tennis Week during and after the U.S. Open, Bellamy amended that launch date to the first quarter of 2003.

In December, The Tennis Channel announced it acquired the rights to telecast several 2003 Tennis Masters Series events including Monte Carlo (April 14-20), Rome (May 5-11), Hamburg (May 12-18), Madrid (Oct. 13-19) and Paris (Oct. 27-Nov. 2).

The delay of the Channel's launch means there will not be any live coverage of this week's Monte Carlo event in the United States. The only American coverage of the tournament will be an ESPN2 two-hour tournament wrap-up scheduled for April 21st 4-6 a.m.

Apr 14th, 2003, 10:01 PM
who gets this channel? do u have to order it? does it come with directv????

Venus Forever
Apr 14th, 2003, 10:03 PM
Yeah, how can they set those dates if no one has it yet??


Does anyone know if Time Warner Cable In NYC is getting it?? And whether we would have to pay extra for it.

Apr 14th, 2003, 10:05 PM
that's crap! we only get a "wrap-up" of one of the biggest events on the atp tour becuase espn doesn't have the rights to the tournament! wtf??

Mr. Man
Apr 14th, 2003, 10:07 PM
Heres the simple solution. why doesn't sattelite use it? Like Sattelite has the Golf Channel?
err What is this Time warner crap, I don't think I get that! :sad:

Apr 14th, 2003, 10:09 PM
that's crap! we only get a "wrap-up" of one of the biggest events on the atp tour becuase espn doesn't have the rights to the tournament! wtf??

We also only get a 1 hour "wrap up" of the finals in Rome & Hamburg as well.

As far as I know, the Tennis Channel has signed up with 6 cable systems, including Time Warner. I'll try to find out for sure.

Apr 14th, 2003, 10:11 PM
please tell me it is on directv...

Apr 14th, 2003, 10:12 PM
call your local cabin company

Apr 14th, 2003, 10:14 PM
New Agreement Helps Put Tennis Channel In 38 Percent Of American Homes

By Richard Pagliaro

The Tennis Channel has set a December launch date, and is already spreading across the nation. The network announced today it has signed a letter of intent with the National Cable Television Cooperative for a long-term affiliation agreement to carry the start-up cable network on the cooperative's systems through 2011.

It is the second major cable affiliation agreement in the last month for the Tennis Channel, which signed a 15-year commitment for Time Warner Cable's 12.8 million subscribers on June 17th. The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) is comprised of a cross-section of cable operators, including Adelphia, Mediacom and CableOne, who collectively serve 14.5 million subscribers in the United States.

"This agreement with the NCTC is another quantum leap for The Tennis Channel," Tennis Channel president and founder Steve Bellamy said. "We are continuing to make great progress in dealing with distributors, even as an independent network, despite the industry-wide distractions of consolidation."

The agreements with NCTC and Time Warner provide the network with 38 percent of all U.S. cable subscribers now under contract. It is a significant achievement for a start-up cable network. It is the equivalent of a tennis player going from the qualifiers to the fourth round of tournaments in the space of one month.

"It is a mind-alteringly important agreement for us," Bellamy said. "Getting distribution is the ball game and we are in the ball game now. For any nay-sayers in the tennis industry who may have doubted us, these two distribution deals are a huge breakthrough for us. We are pouring most of our energy and resources into distribution and trying to get into as many American homes as possible. The backbone of our programming will be live tournaments as well as news and player interviews and profiles."

The letter of intent with the NCTC provides a nine-year affiliation agreement. The final contract is expected to be finalized by the end of the month. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. "The Tennis Channel is perfect for today's cable operator," said Frank Hughes, senior vice-president of programming for NCTC. "It's original programming at a time when most new channels are simply recycled and broadly appealing to our subscribers."

The Tennis Channel is using Comedy Central's sales staff in its efforts to reach cable operators and advertisers the results are more profound than a punchline. Whereas many sports-based networks appeal primarily to a male demographic, tennis transcends gender and race, which is attractive to cable operators and advertisers.

"Tennis obviously has a diverse appeal, with over 70 million adult American enthusiasts," Hughes said. "With strong appeal to African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans, the Tennis Channel is a perfect fit for our members, who have urban, suburban and rural systems in all parts of the country."

One of the Tennis Channel's biggest resources may be the players themselves.

"The players are really into and have been very supportive and cooperative," Bellamy said. "Right now, we're basically amassing an entire library of player interviews so that we can take our viewers behind the scenes during a match and show them what the players are thinking and feeling through the words of the players themselves."

Proposed programming for its inaugural year calls for the Tennis Channel to devote 40 percent of its content to live tournament tennis, 40 percent to instructional tennis, resorts and equipment telecasts and 20 percent to tennis news and player profiles. According to Bellamy, The Tennis Channel's audience will ultimately serve the dual role as both viewers and programmers in determining the direction the new channel takes.

"Our flexibility is a strength," Bellamy said. "If a network has to air a sitcom, tennis takes it on the chin. If have a great match going on, we won't cut away to the instructional show, we'll stay with the match. We're going to throw the programming up and see what sticks and what people respond to. If viewers want more tournament coverage or if they end up loving our news then they'll get more of it."

Apr 15th, 2003, 01:34 AM
There seems 2B a perception here that once they air something, they've "made it". Not necessarily. As Corporate Boi could tell you, there's a term called the "burn rate"; how fast they're eating $ (on-air folks, TV crews, rights fees to the tournaments) once they're on-air, on top of paying rent, staff, etc. then as well as till now. (Not counting the equipment, as it could have been bought, or 2B when on air). Bottom line: they could air a few matches and THEN fold.

Apr 15th, 2003, 03:32 AM
DIRECTV will carry it. Call 1-800-DIR-ECTV to order or inquire.

DISH NETWORK currently has *no* plans to carry coverage of the Tennis Channel.

Apr 15th, 2003, 03:35 AM
Thanks Seles :wavey:

Me thinks I need to get DirecTV soon.. :rolleyes:

Apr 15th, 2003, 12:36 PM
DIRECTV will carry it. Call 1-800-DIR-ECTV to order or inquire.

DISH NETWORK currently has *no* plans to carry coverage of the Tennis Channel.