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Volume 20 No. 46
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Tennis Channel to broadcast inaugural Laver Cup

Tennis Channel will broadcast next month’s inaugural Laver Cup, a three-day contest pitting European tennis players, including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, against competitors from elsewhere in the world.

The exhibition is the brainchild of Tony Godsick, Federer’s agent, who has sold sponsorships for the competition to the likes of Nike, Rolex and JPMorgan Chase. Tennis Channel, which said the event is sold out, gets exclusive U.S. cable rights but nonexclusive streaming rights. Tennis Channel is paying a rights fee but did not disclose how much.

Godsick did not return calls seeking comment on the Laver Cup, which occurs in Prague.

The Laver Cup is the latest push in tennis toward team competitions. Since 2014, an end-of-year exhibition series, the International Premier Tennis League, has occurred in Asia, though sources say it may not happen again this year.

Meanwhile the ATP is considering its own version of a team competition, while the International Tennis Federation is trying to improve its sputtering standard bearer, the Davis Cup.

Players largely compete for two reasons: money and ranking points. Only the ATP can offer both of those. That’s why Donald Dell, group president of Lagardère, said that while the Laver Cup is sure to do well in year one as a curiosity, attracting players in the future will be key to its success, and that will cost a lot of money.