Tennis Returns This Weekend
8 May, 2020
Tennis Channel will offer complete, live coverage of a three-day men's tennis event in West Palm Beach, Fla., this weekend - the first competition on U.S. soil between ranked players since the professional sport went on hiatus in March. The UTR Pro Match Series presented by Tennis Channel will take place May 8-10 and feature two top-10 ranked American players. Next, a similar women's event is set for May 22-24 with three top-10 Americans, as Tennis Channel's 2020 (Re)Open Tour returns live tennis to fans around the world.
The network is also partnering with parent-company Sinclair Broadcast Group's regional sports networks and West Palm Beach news station to bring the competition to an even wider national and local-broadcast audience.
Both competitions will follow enhanced safety precautions, with screening, cleaning and social distancing for everyone involved. They are being held at a private court without spectators or public access, and contain singles matches only. Players will provide their own drinks and towels, and each will be given his or her own set of marked balls for use during the match.
Tennis Channel's coverage begins with the first matches Friday, May 8, from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. ET, a schedule it follows throughout the weekend. The players are Americans Reilly Opelka (No. 3-ranked American) and Tommy Paul (No. 6), along with Poland's top-ranked Hubert Hurkacz and Serbia's No. 4 Miomir Kecmanovic. Unlike an exhibition, the four will play for prize money and for results that will be included in each's Universal Tennis Rating (UTR), a system that provides real-time, head-to-head rating comparisons based on performance.
The women's competition May 22-24 follows the same format. It features Americans Alison Riske (No. 4), Amanda Anisimova (No. 5) and Danielle Collins (No. 8), joined by Ajla Tomljanovic, Australia's second-ranked women's singles player).
Tennis Channel has many years of practice developing innovate, high-end remote production during live competition. The network will partner with Ross Mobile Productions to cover this weekend's event via two 24-foot jib cameras with wide-angle lenses based outside the court, providing a different but more intimate angle than viewers are used to seeing on television. Two robotic cameras will be trained on each player from the middle of the court, with a hand-held camera also capturing the action from the opposite side. A drone camera will be used to highlight key moments and follow player entrances as well, and players will wear headsets and be able to interact with the network's studio during play.
Emmy Award-winning announcer Brett Haber (@BrettHaber)will call play by play for Tennis Channel from the network's Los Angeles studio during the event. He will be with Hall of Famer Jim Courier and former NCAA champion and professional tour player Prakash Amritraj (@PrakashAmritraj). During coverage Friday, May, 8, former US Open champion and fellow Hall of Famer Andy Roddick (@andyroddick) will also offer commentary via Skype. Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman) will call the women's matches two weekends later with analyst and Hall of Famer Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76).
Following live competition, the network will offer encore coverage on its subscription service Tennis Channel Plus and website www.tennis.com. Most of the 23 regional sports networks owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tennis Channel's parent company, will simulcast or show delayed coverage of the UTR Pro Match Series presented by Tennis Channel this weekend. This includes YES Network in the New York City area and Marquee in the Chicago region. Sports fans hungry for live competition during the coronavirus outbreak will be able to catch the action on these channels as well as on Sinclair's WTVX CW 34 station in West Palm Beach.
Tennis Channel is also showing both the men's and women's events live and on-demand in Germany, Austria and Switzerland via its just-launched Tennis Channel International streaming service.
Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com), which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights at the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, ATP World Tour events, WTA competitions, Fed Cup, Laver Cup and the ATP Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by all of the top 10 video providers.
About Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. Sinclair is a diversified media company and leading provider of local sports and news. The Company owns and/or operates 23 regional sports network brands; owns, operates and/or provides services to 191 television stations in 89 markets; is a leading local news provider in the country; owns multiple national networks; and has TV stations affiliated with all the major broadcast networks. Sinclair's content is delivered via multiple-platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net