Tennis Books 'Wimbledon Primetime' Into 2023
Tennis Channel's on-air talent and executives can reserve their summer trips to a certain London suburb well into the next decade.
The programmer and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club have agreed to a multi-year extension of Wimbledon Primetime that will see its nightly program expand its reach.
The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, will enable Tennis to televise the best tennis, encore matches, original features and other coverage from in and around Wimbledon Village and the tennis world's grass Grand Slam through 2023.
The twelve-year contract renewal, which keeps the network on the coverage grounds for all four of the sport's Slams, follows Tennis' deal with the All England Club that expired with the 2011 fortnight.
Beginning in 2012, Tennis will produce a 30-minute preview edition of the program nightly that will provide a two-week lead-in of sorts to tennis' oldest major tourney.
More importantly, Wimbledon Primetime will air each evening of the two-week tournament, marking a broadening of the show's nightly reach, which previously had started on the first day of tournament play and concluded midway through the second week.
Hosted by veteran sportscaster and Tennis Channel Grand Slam lead commentator Bill Macatee along with tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Wimbledon Primetime offers more than 100 hours of match play, analysis, player interviews, expert-guest features and complete highlights. Wimbledon Primetime also includes commentary and insight from former players Lindsay Davenport and Justin Gimelstob.
"We are most pleased to extend and expand our relationship with Tennis Channel," said Ian Ritchie
Ian Ritchie, chief executive, AELTC, in announcing the renewal. "Their nightly Wimbledon Primetime coverage has been a great success since its debut in 2008, bringing the best of the Championships, Wimbledon, to the largest possible American audience during the highest-viewer evening hours. The telecast allows fans to stay on top of everything that's happened each day with the editorial scope and depth of an organization whose sole, year-round focus is the sport of tennis."
Noted Tennis chairman and CEO Ken Solomon: "We're deeply honored to extend our relationship with the All England Lawn Tennis Club for the coming decade, one of the most beautiful and hallowed places in the world of athletic competition. Wimbledon Primetime has become a nightly institution for both die-hard tennis fans as well as more casual viewers who watch and enjoy world-class sports."
Tennis, which presents live match play from the other Slams, earlier this month extended its deal with the French Tennis Federation from 2016-22 to maintain its position as the primary U.S. rights-holder to the French Open. Through an alliance with ESPN2, Tennis exchanges Roland Garros rights in exchange for those the worldwide leader holds with the Australian Open. Tennis sublicenses live match rights to the U.S. Open from ESPN, which in July gained exclusive U.S. media rights to Wimbledon, acing long-time broadcaster NBC in the process.
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By Kent Gibbons