Tennis Channel signs new affiliation agreement
LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, has signed a new affiliation agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), a not-for-profit corporation that operates as a programming and hardware purchasing corporation for nearly 1,000 member companies. The multi-year deal mandates broad distribution for Tennis Channel by NCTC members who elect to carry the network under the NCTC partnership.
The previously existing agreement between Tennis Channel and NCTC, which allowed carriage exclusively on sports tiers, was set to expire on Sept. 3. The announcement comes on the eve of Tennis Channel’s virtually round-the-clock coverage during the two-week US Open (Aug. 29-Sept. 11), America’s most popular tennis competition and the largest annually attended paid sporting event in the world.
“We’re happy to renew our relationship with Tennis Channel, and to continue to make the network available to our members,” said Frank Hughes, senior vice president, programming, NCTC. “The channel has matured tremendously in recent years to truly become the television home for tennis.”
The new NCTC deal is the latest Tennis Channel agreement that provides the network with broad carriage on widely penetrated levels of service. When the network first partnered with NCTC nine years ago, it did not cover any of tennis’ four major “Grand Slam” events or U.S. Davis Cup matches; have a year-round schedule with the top-100 tournaments in the sport; or feature high-definition programming - all of which it has grown to offer today.
“The NCTC plays an important role in representing independent cable operators, and we’re excited that the businesses and viewers they serve will continue to have the opportunity to watch Tennis Channel,” said Patrick Wilson, senior vice president, distribution, Tennis Channel.
In addition to close to 300 dedicated hours of US Open-related programming each year, including 75 hours of live matches, Tennis Channel sends its teams to the Australian Open in January, French Open in May and Wimbledon in June. The network is the exclusive television home of all Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hopman Cup competitions, and has telecast rights to just about every tournament on the men’s and women’s professional circuits. Among these are the Olympus US Open Series; ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events; “Fifth Slam” events in Miami and Indian Wells, Calif.; and the men’s and women’s season-ending championships. Throughout the year, the network’s on-air talent roster resembles a “who’s who” of tennis Hall of Famers and television personalities, with the likes of Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Lindsay Davenport, Tracy Austin, Bud Collins, Bill Macatee, Mary Carillo and Ted Robinson.
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