Tennis Shares Citi Final with WJLA-TV

WJLA-TV Washington will get to air the finals of the D.C.-based Citi Open tennis tournament thanks to the Tennis Channel, which has national rights.

It is the first such shared coverage in the tournament's history, the first year Tennis Channel has the rights to the tournament, and the first time Tennnis has provided a simulcast to a TV station.

"In our first year of exclusive, wall-to-wall Citi Open coverage, this partnership with WJLA-TV lets us share the crowning event with everyone in Washington who owns a television - over the air for free," said Ken Solomon, chairman of the Tennis Channel, in announcing the arrangement.

It is also a chance to promote the channel to folks who don't get it or are not familiar with it.

"We welcome the chance to deliver a taste of the competition that we show week after week throughout the year to any fans who have missed out on Tennis Channel so far," said Solomon.

A Tennis Channel spokesperson had no comment on whether Tennis got more than promotional consideration out of the sharing arrangement, but said it was part of an overall effort to raise awareness for the channel. It also does not hurt to be sharing sports with a TV station in the nation's capital, where access to sports programming has always been a hot-button issue.

But Tennis is not keeping its coverage close to the vest. It also set up three jumbo screens at three different locations where Washingtonians have been able to watch its coverage of the tournament this past week.

At press time there were still a number of Americans in the hunt for the tournament, including John Isner, Jack Sock, and Sloane Stephens.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.