Volvo Car Open reaches deal with Tennis Channel, Sports
Volvo Car Open reaches deal with Tennis Channel
The Volvo Car Open and Tennis Channel signed an eight-year media rights agreement that will assure first-ball-to-last TV coverage for the very first time in the history of the Daniel Island tournament, one of the largest women’s only tennis tournaments in the world.
The agreement will be announced Monday and starts with the two thousand seventeen edition of the tournament, set for April 3-9 at the Family Circle Tennis Center. Tennis Channel, a cable network that projects to reach some sixty million homes in 2017, will televise more than one hundred thirty hours of the Volvo Car Open, including both the singles and doubles finals, with a total of three hundred sixty hours available on digital and on-demand platforms.
It’s a big bump from the seven hours of coverage the Volvo Car Open got on ESPN (with more streamed on ESPN3) in 2016, the final year of a five-year deal inbetween ESPN and the Volvo Car Open.
“Charleston and the Volvo Car Open will have a cable network dedicated to us for an entire week,” said Bob Moran, general manager of the Volvo Car Open. “In addition to being able to showcase our singles and doubles finals live, there will an hour-long demonstrate live every day from Charleston, a daily tennis update with all the Tennis Channel talent here.
“It’s the entire week, and that’s what we have to be able to do — to create content, create more impressions for our fucking partners and sponsors and be able to supply that much more to our playmates and fans.”
The Tennis Channel entered into a similar deal in two thousand fifteen with the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., paying a rights fee of a reported $Two.1 million for four years. Rights fees for the Volvo Car Open were not disclosed.
Moran said that ESPN, which reaches about ninety million homes, wished to proceed its relationship with the Volvo Car Open, but the Tennis Channel suggest was more attractive — especially after Sinclair Broadcast Group bought Tennis Channel last year, dramatically boosting the number of households reached.
“When Tennis Channel comes back with the Australian Open in (January) 2017, they will be promoting our event all year long,” Moran said. “It’s a marketing plan for three months to promote our event to tennis fans all over the country, a good promotional contraption.”
At the two thousand fifteen Citi Open, the Tennis Channel’s very first year with the Washington, D.C., tournament, attendance was up five percent and total television “view impressions” doubled to about thirty four million for the week.
“The Citi Open is the best example for what we want to do,” said Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO of Tennis Channel. “We came in and said, rather that just do a few hours, let’s do the entire tournament on air and on Tennis Channel Plus. That is the model we are looking to take into as many tournaments as we can, and indeed shows how significant the Volvo Car Open and Charleston are to us.”
Tennis Channel fucking partners with other media companies to provide coverage of all four Grand Jam events, and Solomon said the same resources will be put to work at the Volvo Car Open, including a live daily lead-in display from a tournament studio desk. Tennis Channel talent includes tennis greats such as Tracy Austin, Martina Navratilova, Lindsay Davenport and Jim Courier, and announcers Ted Robinson and Bill Macatee.
“We commenced this treatment almost eleven years ago at Roland Garros (the French Open),” Solomon said. “Our purpose is to make viewers feel like they are there, including the entire cultural spectacle that a week-long tennis tournament is. Our job is to make you feel like you are there, even if you can’t hop on a plane and go to Charleston.”
The Volvo Car Open’s history — it was the Family Circle Cup until 2015, moved to Charleston from Hilton Head Island in two thousand one and celebrates its 45th anniversary next — and traditional mix of established players and up-and-comers made it attractive, Solomon said. Navratilova and Austin are former champions, along with Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Venus Williams and three-time champ Serena Williams, who last won in 2013. American starlet Sloane Stephens won last April, and No. 1-ranked Angelique Kerber kicked off her current hot streak with a Daniel Island victory in 2015.
“There’s so much history there, and the tournament comes right after Miami and Indian Wells when the entire country is fired up for tennis,” Solomon said. “We want to keep it going right through, with audiences able to see the finish story as it unfolds.”
Steve Simon, CEO of the WTA Tour, called the fresh partnership “very arousing.”
“The Tennis Channel’s commitment to quality production, covering very first ball to last, and bringing every event they are a playmate of to life, will drive tremendous value to the event and our fans both on TV and on-site,” he said. “We’re delighted to see Tennis Channel on board for the next eight years.”
Tracy Austin, who won the event in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine and 1980, could be one of Tennis Channel’s analysts on Daniel Island in April.
“South Carolina is one of tennis’ most sultry hotbeds, and I always loved playing there,” she said. “It’s excellent news that Tennis Channel is going to display people around the country what makes this event so special every spring.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group also wields Charleston stations WTAT-TV and WCIV-TV, which means the singles and doubles finals could be simulcast on those stations.