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DirecTV to carry Tennis Channel

4/16/07 7:48 AM




Millions more people will be able to watch tennis stars like Andy Roddick compete on the Tennis Channel later this year
© Harry How/Getty Images



The Tennis Channel will be carried by satellite provider DirecTV beginning this summer under a multi-year distribution agreement that was to be announced Monday.

The deal will nearly double the number of households that get The Tennis Channel, which went on the air in 2003 and is currently in about 10 million U.S. homes.

"This is a watershed moment,'' network chairman and CEO Ken Solomon said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "If you're in the distribution business, this is what clearly and indelibly forever puts you on the map.''

There isn't a firm date yet for the launch, Solomon said, but it probably will happen in late August, putting The Tennis Channel on tiers that reach roughly 8 million DirecTV subscribers.

Then, in late November or early December, DirecTV will carry a second feed of The Tennis Channel in high definition.

"Kenny's done a great job at acquiring high-profile events,'' said Eric Shanks, DirecTV executive vice president of entertainment, "and he really is making The Tennis Channel 'THE tennis channel.'''

As part of the agreement, all 16 million DirecTV customers will have access to The Tennis Channel's coverage of the French Open, which starts May 27.

The DirecTV distribution is the latest in a series of recent moves to expand The Tennis Channel's reach and lift its profile.

That includes hosting an ATP tournament, adding the U.S. Tennis Association as an investor, buying TV rights to a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, and an agreement with ESPN to share U.S. cable TV and multimedia rights for the French Open and Australian Open through 2011.

"There has been a very clear building process over the lasts 12 months here,'' Solomon said. "We're not done yet. That's all I can tell you. It's been a careful and calculated yet rapid building process.''

http://www.usta.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=419746
 

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wow THATS GREAt.. too much baseball channels! NOW One of tennis at least!
 
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