MSG Plus ESPN and ESPN2 to Televise the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean Cup on March 1

Tennis

MSG Plus ESPN and ESPN2 to Televise the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean Cup on March 1

Svetlana Kuznetsova

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Ana Ivanovic Faces Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams Takes On Svetlana Kuznetsova at MSG

New York, February 22, 2010 – Madison Square Garden and StarGames announced today that MSG Plus and ESPN2 will televise the 2010 BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean Cup on Monday, March 1, live with MSG Plus showing the semifinals and ESPN2 presenting the finals. The one-day, single-elimination tournament will include four of the world’s top female tennis players – Svetlana Kuznetsova, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and Ana Ivanovic – at Madison Square Garden.

Starting at 7 p.m. ET, MSG Plus will televise two semifinal matches with World No. 17 Clijsters facing No. 23 Ivanovic and No. 4 Kuznetsova taking on No. 5 Williams. At 9 p.m. ESPN2 will air the final match. All three matches will also be available on broadband ESPN360.com.

“It is exciting for us to have the BNP Paribas Showdown carried live by two prestigious networks,” said Jerry Solomon, President & CEO, StarGames Inc.  “The combination of MSG Plus and ESPN2 gives us wall-to-wall coverage and ensures that fans all over the country who are celebrating Tennis Night in America with us, will have the opportunity to see these great players square off for the Billie Jean King Cup.”

For the second year in a row, the BNP Paribas Showdown will feature four of the top women in tennis. The four participants have a combined career record of 1630-493 and have won a total of 12 Grand Slams and 98 WTA titles. Three of the four women have been ranked No. 1 at least once in their careers; Kuznetsova reached the No. 2 ranking in 2007.

Both MSG Plus and ESPN2 will showcase leading on-air commentators during the event. One of the most respected broadcasters in sports, Ted Robinson, will call play-by play for the semifinals while former World No. 1 player and three-time Grand Slam winner, Lindsay Davenport, will serve as analyst. MSG’s Scott Lasky will handle reporter duties for the semifinal matches. ESPN2’s coverage of the final will feature two prominent tennis commentators: Chris Fowler, host of the network’s coverage of all four Grand Slam events, alongside seven-time WTA Tour winner Mary Joe Fernandez.

The BNP Paribas Showdown features a unique set of rules. The semifinal matches will consist of only one set while the final match will be best of three. There will be no ad scoring in either round. The four participants will compete for a $1.2 million prize pool.

The “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” is the featured element of the national “Tennis Night in America” promotion. Through “Tennis Night in America”, the USTA will continue its efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis. “Tennis Night in America” is among the sports largest ever grass roots initiatives. The USTA has made this event a major component for its Youth Registration Night, where youth from all over the country can begin signing up for spring and summer league play beginning on Friday, February 26th through March 1st.  To find a sign-up location please go to www.tennisnight.com.

Title partner BNP Paribas has returned for a second year, continuing their strong commitment to support the sport of tennis. BNP Paribas will be joined by Official Partners Caesars Atlantic City, Delta Air Lines, FIJI Water, Fila, FXDD, Jumeirah Essex House, Lexus, NASDAQ OMX, Optimum, Rums of Puerto Rico, Sportime Tennis Clubs, Steuben Glass, Tennis.com, Travelers Insurance, Ubisoft and Wilson.

At the 2009 event, Venus Williams defeated Jelena Jankovic and Serena Williams defeated Ana Ivanovic in the semifinal matches. Serena then defeated her sister 6-4, 6-3 for the inaugural championship.

About Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden is a fully-integrated sports, entertainment and media business. The company is comprised of three business segments: MSG Sports, MSG Entertainment and MSG Media, which are strategically aligned to work together to drive its overall business, and built on a foundation of iconic venues and compelling content that MSG creates, produces, presents and/or distributes through its programming networks and other media assets. MSG Sports consists of the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL), the New York Liberty (WNBA), and the Hartford Wolf Pack (American Hockey League). MSG Entertainment is a leader in managing and creating concerts and events at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, the legendary Chicago Theatre, the Wang Theatre in Boston, and produces the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes. MSG Media is comprised of leading television networks MSG, MSG Plus, MSG HD and MSG Plus HD, as well as MSG Interactive, which oversees all company wireless and online initiatives, and Fuse and Fuse HD, the national television network dedicated exclusively to music. The company owns and operates the Madison Square Garden arena complex located in the heart of the New York metropolitan area.  More information is available at www.msg.com.

ESPN – All Four Grand Slams.  All in One Place.

Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and has provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other network has ever done.

ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call. 

Almost all the tennis is found on ESPN2, giving the network the identity as the destination for tennis fans and giving the sport a home that is flexible enough to carry extensive live programming – and adding to the schedule as storylines dictate. ESPN and ESPN2 both reach 99 million households nationwide.  Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, broadband ESPN360.com, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.

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