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Tennis Fool
Jun 5th, 2003, 01:25 AM
Tennis Trying to Improve Its Marketing
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


Filed at 6:15 p.m. ET

PARIS (AP) -- Tennis is trying to improve the marketing of the game.

``We've got to take the sport more mainstream. The sport still has the perception of being a niche, country club sport,'' Arlen Kantarian, the U.S. Tennis Association's chief executive for pro tennis, said Wednesday.

``Attendance is relatively OK, but the TV ratings need improvement.''

Officials from the Grand Slam tournaments are meeting with players' representatives during the French Open, and marketing was one item discussed.

Through seven telecasts on ESPN, the French Open is averaging a cable rating of 0.7, the same as last year. That means 0.7 percent of homes with ESPN have tuned in.

By comparison, the network's 126 regular-season men's college basketball games averaged a 0.9 rating, and its NBA playoffs coverage averaged 2.4.

``TV is still the hallmark of success in any sport,'' Kantarian said. ``Other than the Slams, tennis has not had its fair shake on TV in the United States.''

He thinks one way to get more attention is through more ``combined tournaments,'' seven- or eight-day events with men and women playing at the same site. The long-term aim is to put such tourneys in Los Angeles, Cincinnati and possibly elsewhere.

Kantarian envisions a late-summer series of combined events leading up to the U.S. Open.

``We would like to use the U.S. Open as a lynchpin to secure more interest for these other tournaments,'' he said, acknowledging the current state of the economy ``makes it more challenging.''

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Doc
Jun 5th, 2003, 02:02 AM
Good idea. The run up to the US Open is a bit scrappy at the moment. The Pilot Pen and other tournaments are far too small scale.

WtaTour4Ever
Jun 5th, 2003, 02:07 AM
OMG I would love a mixed tourny event in Cincy, thats only 2 hours from me!!

1jackson2001
Jun 5th, 2003, 03:41 AM
that would be nice

Aussie_Kim
Jun 5th, 2003, 03:51 AM
I dunno what American tennis coverage is like but if its anything like Aussie tennis coverage its no wonder no-one watches it. ;)

ToeTag
Jun 5th, 2003, 04:06 AM
I don't think that would make any difference,having combined events...to me tv has brought this on themselves. :rolleyes: What difference would combined events make if all ESPN is going to do is air the same matches anyway?You"ll still see the same players over and over again whether their matches are competitive or entertaining.What I would like to see is in the early rounds just show the competitive,entertaining matches.....NO MATTER WHO IS PLAYING IN IT.Even if its' someone from outer Mongolia.....ESPN only has its' self to blame!

Jeff
Jun 5th, 2003, 08:26 AM
Another thing that would help, is say screw ESPN, and start showing more tennis on NBC, ABC and CBS, like they do with golf.

Like this will ever happen...but I'm sure if it did, and they aired more matches during the week, and at night, it would definetly help.

treufreund
Jun 5th, 2003, 09:02 AM
Tennis is a lost cause in MACHO America. At times this is how I feel.

Brian Stewart
Jun 5th, 2003, 11:21 AM
ESPN (and other slam telecasters) needs to show more variety. The key distinguishing factor between a slam and regular tour events is the size of the tournament. There are 256 players in the main singles draws. Yet we get a steady diet of Agassi and Roddick matches in their entirety, with bits of Williams and Capriati matches, and looks at the other American men filling in the remaining time. It becomes largely indistinguishable from a regular ATP event, with cameo appearances by a few top American women.

They need to bounce around. There's no excuse for them not to at least show some highlights from the matches of every seeded player who plays on a showcourt. HBO used to give a better feel of a slam 15 years ago with just a half hour highlight show than these guys do with 6 or 7 hours of coverage.

This would include balancing out the coverage. If they're going to focus on the Americans primarily, focus on ALL the Americans. Davenport, Rubin, Seles, Shaughnessy, Stevenson, Granville, Raymond, etc., are all at least as deserving of airtime as Blake, Gambill, Vahaly, etc. And if they want to catch dramatic matches, show them from BOTH draws. There have been almost 60 matches that went the distance so far. About 60% of those were on the women's side. Yet, unless they involved a top 10 player, we didn't get to see any of them. Hell, Shaughnessy's first round match filled both bills (American in a thriling match). There is no excuse for them not to have shown it.

What's the point of having more "combined" events for TV if you largely ignore one of the fields?

Tennis Fool
Jun 5th, 2003, 10:54 PM
Brian this is the problem however:

Through seven telecasts on ESPN, the French Open is averaging a cable rating of 0.7, the same as last year. That means 0.7 percent of homes with ESPN have tuned in.

By comparison, the network's 126 regular-season men's college basketball games averaged a 0.9 rating, and its NBA playoffs coverage averaged 2.4.

ESPN's numbers bring in regular sports fans who know of Agassi, Sampras, Roddick. The numbers would dwindle from their current paltry level if they aired non-American players.

The only way this changes is when an outsider wins multiple slams upsetting Americans (think of Graf, Becker even Rafter).

In order for ESPN to show more non-Americans while increasing eyeballs, it needs to work with the ATP to better market non-Americans in the American media so the casual fans at least know the faces...