Tennis Channel Growing Distribution As Other Sports TV Channels Bleed Subscribers
As sports TV channels "continue to bleed subscribers, Tennis Channel is growing its distribution by about 25 million homes in only two years," according to Kaplan & Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Tennis Channel now is in 47 million homes, a figure it "expects to increase to about 60 million homes next year." The channel "had been stuck in about 36 million homes" from '12-15. Passing the 50 million-home mark "will allow the channel to become Nielsen-rated for the first time -- a step that should occur next year." Tennis Channel Chair & CEO Ken Solomon said that this "will allow the channel to increase its advertising and sponsorship sales." The key to Tennis Channel’s turnaround is a "new owner, Sinclair Broadcasting, which bought the channel" in January for $350M. Thanks to its slate of local broadcast channels -- Sinclair operates 164 television stations in 79 markets -- Sinclair "was able to increase Tennis Channel’s distribution during retransmission consent negotiations." Cable operator Altice, whose territory includes the U.S. Open’s host market of N.Y., "still does not have a deal with Tennis Channel" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/29 issue).
GOING AND GROWING: Sinclair in a statement said that the Tennis Channel is "carried on expanded basic or digital packages on Bright House, Dish Network, Frontier, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable and Cable One, with similar rollouts planned for AT&T U-verse, Buckeye, Comcast, DirecTV, Mediacom, Cincinnati Bell and WOW!" MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Farrell noted the net "has covered the U.S. Open" since '09, and this year "will feature a two-hour daily lead-in show, all-night encore matches and a new nightly program" hosted by Mary Carillo. Tennis Channel's on-air talent roster includes Tennis HOFers Martina Navratilova, Jim Courier, Tracy Austin and Lindsay Davenport (MULTICHANNEL.com, 8/29).
WAKEUP CALL: As part of its marketing campaign to promote its coverage of the U.S. Open, Eurosport is helping fans across Europe wake up in time to see coverage of the U.S. Open. Fans can choose a concierge-style wakeup call from a number of players including Andy Murray, Garbiñe Muguruza, Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep. Fans in France, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and Romania can sign up to the service (Eurosport).