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November 23, 2010
New Agreement for Barclays ATP World Tour Finals; Indian Wells & Miami Return to ESPN Networks
Extensive Season-Long Action on ESPN3.com
In a wide-ranging multiyear agreement with ATP Media, the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals will continue on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com, while the jointly held ATP and WTA tournaments in Indian Wells, Calif., and in Miami every March will return to ESPN networks in 2011. In addition, ESPN3.com will carry an extensive year-long schedule of ATP World Tour action from top events.
The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, held in London, brings together the top eight ranked players in the world with round-robin play leading to a final match aired live on ESPN2. For 2011, the network will also televise one semifinal on tape delay while ESPN3.com will show the entire event. For later years, the television schedule will be expanded.
With top fields of the best men’s and women’s players, the BNP Paribas Open, held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in the Palm Springs area, and the Sony Ericsson Open from the Tennis Center at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne island, are widely considered the two biggest tournaments in the world outside the four Grand Slam events. ESPN2 will televise the men’s quarterfinals and women’s semifinals from California Friday, March 18, with the men’s semifinals on ABC on Saturday, March 19, and the men’s and women’s finals on ABC on Sunday, March 20. In Miami, ESPN2 will carry the quarterfinals and semifinals. The finals will remain on CBS. At both events, ESPN3.com will provide extensive coverage throughout the competition and will also simulcast ESPN2’s matches.
ESPN2 last televised these hardcourt events in 2007, having aired each for many years, including the Florida tournament since 1985. The events are two of the nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments and are two of the four mandatory events on the WTA tour.
In addition, the agreement calls for ESPN3.com to offer all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and nine of the 11 ATP World Tour 500 events, totaling hundreds of hours of live tennis annually.
“We’re very pleased to bring these top-tier events back to ESPN and to have worked with ATP Media to expand the footprint of their events from coast-to-coast,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions. “ESPN3.com continues to grow as a destination for tennis fans seeking the best players and events, and these tournaments reaffirm ESPN3.com as the unquestioned year-round home for live professional tennis.”
Steve Plasto, CEO, ATP Media, said, “This is great news for tennis fans in the U.S. who can now look forward to fantastic ESPN2 coverage of two additional ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, as well as the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the exciting climax to the season where only the Top eight singles and doubles teams in the world compete.”
ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and 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 U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year.
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 and John McEnroe playing.
ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), Wimbledon since 2003 and the US Open since 2009.
In addition, broadband network ESPN3.com, now in 65 million homes, carries thousands of hours of tennis annually, including all four Grand Slam events, plus ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments, usually with additional, exclusive matches.