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Tennis Channel Signs Bud Collins

NEW YORK — Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and passionate lifestyle of tennis, has signed a multi-year, on-air deal with Bud Collins, legendary reporter, commentator, television personality, historian and beloved personality synonymous with the game itself. Collins and Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, Tennis Channel, made the announcement today during a press conference in the media center at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the US Open.

Beginning immediately, Collins will take on a variety of Tennis Channel roles both on television and the network’s Web site, www.TennisChannel.com. Collins, whose unparalleled insight and knowledge of the sport made him a feature on NBC and PBS television for more than four decades, will appear on Tennis Channel original series, offer live commentary during the network’s coverage of top-caliber tournaments and in general act as a representative of the network throughout the year.

“I’m extremely pleased to be joining the Tennis Channel, and look forward to being part of an exceptional team,” said Collins, who has appeared on the network in a number of capacities in the past. “I’ve admired Tennis Channel’s pioneering innovations that have brought many areas and events of the game to the screen for the first time. It’s going to be a great new experience and fun for me.”

“We couldn’t be more honored to have Bud’s expertise and informed opinions in house full time,” said Solomon. “There’s no better year-round home for ‘Mr. Tennis’ than right here on Tennis Channel, and we’re excited about what he’s going to bring to our telecasts and to our tennis-savvy audience, and what we’re going to be able to do to expand Bud’s unique brand across multiple media platforms.”

Collins has been associated with tennis for more than 50 years, beginning his media career as a Boston Herald reporter for the sport in 1955. He moved to the Boston Globe in 1963, where he continues to write a tennis column. Since then he has contributed to a variety of publications, including Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle, Sunday Times of London, International Herald Tribune, Melbourne Age, Tennis Week, Tennis magazine and Tennis Life.

“What 52-week-a-year tennis producer wouldn’t be ecstatic to have someone of Bud’s pedigree on board collaborating with us in building tennis’ first true, TV-based multimedia brand?” said Larry Meyers, senior vice president and executive producer, Tennis Channel. “He communicates to fans at all levels – from casual sports viewers to the game’s most sophisticated enthusiasts.”

In 1963 Collins began offering tennis commentary with WGBH, Boston’s PBS station, a role he would continue for 25 years. In 1972 he added similar duties with NBC, which brought Collins into millions of Americans’ living rooms each June as part of the network’s “Breakfast at Wimbledon” tournament coverage, in addition to other broadcasts throughout the year. A fixture at NBC through this year’s Wimbledon competition, he has also offered commentary at various times for Tennis Channel, CBS, ESPN, USA, CBN, MSG, Sky, HBO, New Zealand TV, ABC Australia and Eurosport. Recently, ESPN announced that Collins would join its Grand Slam telecast team next year.

In this time Collins has gained a reputation for being an authority on the game, its history and the many personalities who contribute to its story. Recognized around the world, Collins is known for his razor-sharp assessments and trademark, custom-made pants, created using fabrics he collects while circling the globe. He has literally written the book on tennis: in 1977 he published the first of four tennis encyclopedias. He has also scripted numerous other books on tennis and tennis players.

Collins is a member of both the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame, and has won a wide variety of journalism and sportscast honors as well, including, in 1999, the Red Smith Award, considered the highest accolade in sports writing. Collins has covered numerous sports events outside of tennis, including golf’s US Open and British Open; baseball’s World Series; the Olympics; heavyweight boxing championships (and most of Muhammad Ali’s fights); and football, basketball and ice hockey playoff games. His diverse career even included a covering the war in Vietnam.
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