Tennis Channel Acquires Rights To 46 Overseas WTA Tournaments
Tennis Channel has "acquired the U.S. rights to 46 overseas WTA tournaments" in a five-year deal that is "scheduled to start in January," according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Amazon made a "push to acquire those rights but ultimately decided against submitting a bid." The 46 overseas events have been "held by beIN Sports, which has struggled to show all of them when they conflicted with the channel’s high-profile soccer offerings." BeIN acquired the rights in '17 from Perform, which had "acquired WTA overseas media rights" in a 10-year, $500M deal. Perform "sold the U.S. rights to the WTA’s non-U.S. events to beIN, which resulted in some high-profile WTA matches ... not being shown on TV because the Qatar-based broadcaster chose to air soccer and other sports instead" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/1 issue). In N.Y., Ben Rothenberg notes tennis fans "often paid the price" for the beIN Sports deal, as they were frustrated by the net's "often intermittent and inattentive coverage of women's tennis." WTA officials eventually "grew frustrated, too." BeIN Sports is available in "less than half as many American homes as Tennis Channel" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/2). TENNIS.com's Ed McGrogan noted the new deal "brings WTA coverage back to the network it called home from its launch" in '03 to '16. The partnership "includes WTA Premier and WTA International tournaments as well as the WTA Finals, which amounts to more than 2,000 matches across all platforms" (TENNIS.com, 10/1).