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SBD/Issue 55/Events & Attractions
Davis Cup Doesn't Seem To Serve Well On Television In U.S.
Published December 2, 2002
The France-Russia Davis Cup final was not televised in the U.S. this weekend, and in N.Y., Christopher Clarey wrote, "In the participating nations, the Davis Cup final generates passion and impressive numbers; an estimated eight million French [watched] this final, in person or on television. Elsewhere, it draws less attention, and not just in the United States. ... The Davis Cup final is essentially a local obsession." Jan Menneken, Exec Dir for the commercial department of the Int'l Tennis Federation (ITF), which runs the Davis Cup, said, "It's not from want of our trying, I can tell you that. It's a very strange market, the American market." ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti: "Surely we have to work on TV exposure for the final and to make it more interesting and appealing. But we don't have a clear solution to this particular problem because it's very inside the nature of the event: that it is a great thing for two countries. Davis Cup is global if you consider the competition throughout the whole year. It's just the final that is different." Clarey noted attendance for the 16-team World Group, which is Davis Cup's first division, grew to a record 413,947 this year from 266,552 in '98. Ricci Bitti: "In the last three years in particular, there have been signs of great vitality. We have had great crowds and great success. The only discussions have really been with the Americans, but that is more linked with the availability of top players" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/1).