Olympic Tennis Final Receives 60 Percent BBC TV Audience as Wimbledon
The television audience for Andy Murray’s Olympic gold medal singles victory over Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon Sunday had approximately 60 percent of the television audience on the BBC in the United Kingdom as Federer’s Wimbledon final victory over Murray last month. According to the BBC, the afternoon television coverage of Murray’s 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 gold medal victory over Federer peaked with 10.7 million viewers. Federer’s 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the Wimbledon final on July 8 attracted an audience of 16.9 million viewers, the highest viewing audience for a Wimbledon final since at least 1990.
NBC Sports Extends French Open Television Coverage Until 2024
NBC Sports has won the television rights to the French Open through a multi-year contract with the French Tennis Federation, which will keep the only clay court Grand Slam on NBC through 2024, according to Meg James of the LA Times. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The agreement with the French Tennis Federation includes 10 additional hours of live television coverage and increased digital rights. The extension brings coverage over the Memorial Day weekend to NBC as well as the women’s semifinals. NBC, who already lost the rights to Wimbledon earlier in the year, made the announcement on Sunday, the same day NBC was televising the London Olympics Gold Medal match between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Sir Richard Branson’s Private Island To Host Exclusive Tennis Pro-Am
According to an August 7 press release, U.S.-based Premier Tennis Travel has announced the chance to play in the world’s most exclusive Pro-Am on Sir Richard Branson’s private island in the British Virgin Islands. The 2012 Necker Cup will take place from December 9-13 on Necker Island. Amateur participants will team with Sir Richard and ATP and WTA stars to be announced in the coming weeks. In addition, registration is now being accepted for the Rosewood Little Dix Bay Legends Tennis Camp held on the same dates as the Necker Cup. This will take place at the nearby world-renowned resort on Virgin Gorda and will be hosted by Grand Slam doubles winners, the Jensen Brothers. “Necker Island is my home and favorite hideaway,” said Sir Richard. “We are pleased to announce this unique tennis experience and unforgettable all-inclusive five-day, four-night stay on my private island.” “I am delighted to bring a Pro-Am tennis event to Necker,” said Mike Richards, Director of Tennis at Necker Island and Co-Founder of the Necker Cup. Each evening will end with a unique cocktail and dinner experience concluding with an “End of the World” awards dinner, party and auction on Dec. 12 at Rosewood Little Dix Bay where the participants will have a chance to meet with Sir Richard and mingle with the past and current tennis stars. One hundred percent of all donations from the auction will benefit Virgin Unite, the National Tennis Foundation and other ATP and WTA player charities. “Premier Tennis Travel is excited to organize the world’s most exclusive Pro-Am,” said Remington Reynolds, CEO of Premier Tennis Travel. “The Rosewood Little Dix Bay Legends Camp will give players of all skill levels the chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the world of tennis.” In addition to the tennis, Sir Richard will participate in a leadership Retreat where Necker Cup participants will get to hear from one of the world’s most successful businessman, as well as other social, sports and business icons. Life Time is the Necker Cup’s first confirmed partner and will be offering anyone the opportunity to attend this world class exclusive event through the Life Time Necker Cup Challenge. This tournament will be held in eight U.S. markets and will implement the Premier Tennis Handicap Scoring System that literally gives anyone the opportunity to win. The winning team of the Life Time Necker Cup Challenge will earn one of the team spots into the Necker up and will get to experience Necker Island, meet Sir Richard and some of the greatest tennis stars in the world. For more information on the Necker Cup, please call (800) 376-0975 or visit www.NeckerCup.com. Also, check outwww.PremierTennisTravel.com and www.LifeTimeFitness.com for additional information.
2012 Rogers Cup Presented by National Bank To Be Broadcast On Five English Canada Networks
Tennis Canada announced last week that in addition to official broadcast partners Sportsnet and CBC, Rogers Cup presented by National Bank will be aired on three other networks for 2012 – Citytv, FX Canada and bold. A total of 124 hours of live coverage from both the men’s event in Toronto and the women’s event in Montreal will be aired across the five networks from August 6-13. “With these additional networks and an extra day of coverage from Montreal with a Monday night final, we will have more over the air hours of cable broadcast than in previous years,” said Karl Hale, tournament director, Rogers Cup presented by National Bank Toronto. “We will reach a broader audience and our fans will be able to find our tournament on more stations.” During the week from Monday, August 6 to Friday, August 10, the men’s and women’s events will be broadcast on Sportsnet ONE, Citytv and FX Canada. Coverage of the championship rounds in both cities from Saturday, August 11 to Monday, August 13 can be seen on CBC-TV and their digital channel bold which will air the men’s semifinals and final from Toronto and the women’s quarter-finals, semifinals and final from Montreal. For the first time ever, Rogers Cup presented by National Bank will have back-to-back evening finals, with the men playing on Sunday night and the women on Monday night, giving fans more final weekend content than ever before. Viewing is even more accessible to fans, as all Rogers digital cable subscribers will be given a free preview of FX Canada for the duration of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. Sportsnet ONE is currently available to all Rogers digital cable subscribers. Streaming options will also be available for people to watch from their computers via sportsnet.ca,cbcsports.ca and through RogersAnyplaceTV.com (for Rogers digital TV customers only). Enhancements being made to the 2012 broadcast include Hawk-Eye technology on four match courts (two per city) with Hawk-Eye Plus statistics, including distance travelled, reaction time and shots placement, provided for Centre Court in both cities. For the first time in Toronto, a Spidercam will also be used on Centre Court to improve the viewing experience for fans even further. Spidercam is a unique camera that moves up and down above the court to provide many new and interesting angles. Also new for Toronto in 2012, CBC Sports and Sportsnet will offer news and insights live for all tennis coverage from a special broadcast sports desk on the Rexall Centre grounds. The official French Canada networks scheduled to broadcast the tournament are RDS2, RIS and SRC. This year’s Rogers Cup will take place from August 4-12 at the Rexall Centre in Toronto and August 4-13 at the Uniprix Stadium in Montreal.
F. Skip Gilbert Hired by USTA
F. Skip Gilbert has been hired by the United States Tennis Association as the new Managing Director, Professional Tennis and US Open Tournament Manager. In his new role, Gilbert will be responsible for the USTA’s professional tournaments including Cincinnati, New Haven and Atlanta; oversee all aspects of the USTA Pro Circuit department including its interaction with Player Development; oversee the USTA’s officiating department and the USTA’s United States Olympic Committee relationship; as well as serve as Tournament Manager at the US Open. He will report to Chief Professional Tennis Officer David Brewer. Gilbert comes to the USTA from PSA in Reston, Va., which is an event, communications and creative arts company which serves an growing base of federal, commercial and sports clients. He was the Chief Business Officer. Prior to PSA, Gilbert served as the Chief Executive Officer at USA Triathlon in Colorado Springs, leading that national governing body in its greatest growth in membership and revenue. He also served as Vice President, Corporate Partnerships and Publishing at the Arena Football League in New York, where he was responsible for the sponsorship, sales, servicing and publishing departments. Gilbert also served as Vice President of Sales at U.S. Soccer and Managing Director, Business Development at USA Swimming. He started his career at Ziff-Davis Media in New York as an account executive. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Gilbert is married to Jenifer and has three children. The Gilbert family will relocate to the White Plains area in 2013.
Eight Players Earn Fall 2012 Scholarships to John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City
According to a press release, eight boys and girls ranging in age from 7-16 were introduced last week as winners of full or partial scholarships to the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA). Each were among approximately 170 participants ages 6-17 in an open tryout on July 21, and the eight were honored on-court on a recent Wednesday night during the World TeamTennis matchup between the New York Sportimes and Washington Kastles at Sportime Randall’s Island. The eight winners were: Cameron Daniels, Oakland Gardens, 15, N.Y.; Diane McCready, 11, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Leonte Wilder, 11, Plainfield, N.J.; Sean Wei, 12, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; Natalie Eordekian, 7, Woodside, N.Y.; Palmer Clare, 16, North Bellmore, N.Y.; Tomas Kopczynski, 12, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; and Amber O’Dell, 11, Chesterfield, Mich. In all, 23 semi-finalists advanced to an afternoon session at the tryout, from which the winners were selected. “These eight boys and girls showed a great deal of potential and positive, winning attitude,” said McEnroe. “I was pleased with how much talent and competitive spirit we saw at the tryout, and my Academy staff and I are looking forward to working with these exceptional young athletes to maximize their abilities.” The JMTA, expanding with annexes on Long Island and in Westchester to open in September 2012, continues to draw a wide range of talented young people from all walks of life who are interested in learning tennis from its Hall of Fame namesake and from the elite team of JMTA coaches that have been assembled. The third annual session of the Academy will begin in September. The day-long tryout was held at the JMTA Flagship location, Sportime Randall’s Island, with young players between the ages of 6 and 17 having worked out for JMTA coaches. McEnroe observed and evaluated the players in the second opportunity for young players to participate in open tryouts for spots in the JMTA. In July 2010, over 300 young people participated in try-outs, with five boys and seven girls awarded full or partial scholarships to the JMTA. Founded in 2010 at Sportime Randall’s Island, the John McEnroe Tennis Academy provides tennis training to many of NY’s best and highest ranked junior players. Full and partial scholarships are available for qualified and promising young players who could not otherwise afford JMTA participation. JMTA corporate partners Nike and Dunlop provide JMTA students with equipment and apparel for their use, both at the Academy and in tournament play. Lawrence Kleger supervises a team of over 30 instructors, including Associate Academy Director and former ATP player player, Fritz Buehning, former top 100 WTA players Hana Sromova and Martina Sucha, and Assistant Academy Directors Karim Balagh, Bruce Haddad and Nate Emge. John McEnroe is routinely involved in the daily program at Randall’s Island, personally supervising and training staff and coaching and inspiring young players. The Academy’s first two years of operation at Randall’s Island exceeded expectations, with over 400 aspiring future champions enrolled.
Tennis Channel Statement Regarding FCC Commission Decision
“We are gratified that the Federal Communications Commission has today definitively held that Comcast has discriminated against Tennis Channel in the terms and conditions of its carriage on Comcast systems and in favor of its wholly owned networks, Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. The Commission has given Comcast 45 days to rectify its discrimination and provide Tennis Channel with carriage equivalent to what it affords Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. The Commission’s decision constitutes a persuasive rejection of each argument Comcast has sought to make over the past several years to justify its discriminatory treatment of Tennis Channel. “Significantly, the Commission’s decision is the fourth from the agency, following on the heels of the FCC Media Bureau, Enforcement Bureau and Chief Administrative Law Judge, all of which underscore that the conduct Tennis Channel alleged violates the statutory protections in place to protect independent networks against the harmful incentives created by vertical integration in the cable industry.” “We have the greatest respect for Comcast, its leadership and the service it provides to one fourth of the nation’s pay-TV marketplace. Now that the Commission has definitively ruled, we invite Comcast to work with us to ensure Tennis Channel, Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network are equally available to Comcast viewers. While our network will benefit greatly from the broader carriage, ultimately it is the consumer who has won today. “Maintaining free and open marketplaces is what this entire case has been about from the beginning. Comcast inherently enjoys a government-licensed competitive advantage, allowing it to capture consumers for its owned services. In a quarter of the country, the cable consumer has only two choices: accept what Comcast offers or move. No newspaper, broadcaster, bookstore, filmmaker, music producer, online retailer, video-film service or Internet-television provider enjoys such power. Today’s decision underscores that Comcast’s power comes with a concurrent responsibility to see to it that the freedoms of speech and expression of the diverse programmers that serve these communities are not stifled simply because they compete with networks that the sole cable provider in the marketplace happens to own. “This decision could not have come at a better time for Comcast customers across this country, as we approach Tennis Channel’s coverage of the US Open beginning August 27.”
Li Na Hires Henin’s Former Coach
According to a report by Matt Cronin on TENNIS.com, 2011 French Open Champion Li Na has hired Carlos Rodriguez on a trial basis. He is the former coach of Grand Slam Champion Justine Henin. The two will begin working together starting on August 16 and will do so for the rest of the 2012 season. According to Cronin, Rodriguez owns a tennis academy in China and recently met with Li to discuss their partnership. He believes that he can motivate the 30-year-old to play well again and will travel full time with her.
Blake, Stephens, Giorgi Awarded Cincinnati Main Draw Wild Cards
The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati has awarded three more main draw wild cards to James Blake for the ATP tournament and Sloane Stephens and Camila Giorgi for the WTA tournament. The tournament starts this Saturday, August 11 and runs through Sunday, August 19. Blake joins fellow Americans Brian Baker, Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey as the four wild card recipients. The 19-year-old Stephens and 20-year-old Giorgi join Venus Williams as automatic entries into the main draw through accepting a wild card. An additional seven men and 12 women will earn a spot in the main draw through the qualifying tournament that will be held August 11-12. There will be a total of 56 players in the men’s singles field and 54 in the women’s field for the 2012 event. The current field includes 64 Olympians from 25 different countries.
Monfils Accepts Winston-Salem Main Draw Wild Card
Gael Monfils, who did not play in the Olympics and recently withdrew from tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati, has accepted a main draw wild card into the Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University. The tournament will take place from August 18-25. “The addition of Gael Monfils makes an already-strong field of top-ranked world competitors even stronger, and we’re thrilled that he will be coming to Winston-Salem,” Bill Oakes said. “He is widely known for being a lively and entertaining player to watch on the courts, much like his best friend Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who is also will be competing in the Winston-Salem Open.” Tickets to the Winston-Salem Open are available online at winstonsalemopen.com, by calling (336) 758-6409 or in person at the Wake Forest ticket office located at Bridger Field House at BB&T Field.
United States Professional Tennis Association Partners with 10-S Tennis Supply
The United States Professional Tennis Association has partnered with 10-S Tennis Supply, making the organization the official tennis court equipment supplier of the USPTA. As part of the partnership agreement, 10-S Tennis Supply’s Six Star II tennis net will become the official tennis net of the USPTA. The Six Star II net features a tapered, extra-duty, braided polyethylene net body with UV stitching, double mesh on the top six rows, a double vinyl headband, six rows of stitching on the headband and a five-year warranty. “We are very pleased about the partnership with 10-S Tennis Supply,” said USPTA CEO Tim Heckler. “We know that 10-S Tennis Supply provides superior products and we are proud to have them as our official court equipment supplier.”
USPTA Buying Show to be held on September 19 in Northern California
The United States Professional Tennis Association’s Tennis Buying Show will take place September 19 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa in Monterey, Calif. The show will take place during the annual World Conference on Tennis. The buying show is part of the larger World Conference, which begins September 16. More than 1,500 tennis-teaching professionals, industry leaders and representatives, media and manufacturer representatives are expected to attend. To obtain booth reservation forms, visit usptaworldconference.com and click on the buying show menu tab or call John Dettor at (713) 978-7782, ext. 131, or e-mail him email@example.com. Exhibitors include tennis equipment, apparel and footwear companies, marketers and wholesalers of hard and soft goods, video analysis, Web-based programs and software, teaching aids, court surfacing and lighting, awards, educational materials, nutrition bars and vitamins, and more.
Introducing “Love Tennis By Hazel” Jewelry Line
Those in search of jewelry to reflect their love and devotion to tennis can now rally over to http://www.lovetennisbyhazel.com/. This beautifully inspired jewelry line celebrates the passion for the game with elegantly hand-crafted necklaces, bracelets and earrings for her, as well as strong, elegant items for him. The brand new line opens with the New York and Paris collections. In all, there will be four collections inspired by the Grand Slam cities. The Melbourne collection rolls out January 2013, followed by the London collection in June 2013. Each intricately designed and crafted piece renders details of the game with understated grace. For example, the New York collection lariat necklace features a sterling silver tennis ball gently slipped through a simple, yet subtle, silver racquet with tiny gold-plated handle. (Price $300). The court theme of the Paris collection uses the rectangle shapes of the court to create an elegant geometric piece of wearable art. (Price $150). All pieces are available in sterling silver; 14K gold is available upon request. Versatile, beautiful and lightweight, pieces from Love Tennis by hazel are worn perfectly on the court and on the town. Love Tennis by hazel designer and owner, Hazel Nussbaum, is a tennis player herself. “I am a lifelong lover of tennis. I could never find tennis-inspired jewelry reflecting my love of the game and my love for beautiful jewelry, so I created my own.”
Antigua Apparel Company Launching Tennis Line
The Antigua Group, Inc., which is best known for golf apparel, sports licensing and casual wear for the past 30 years, has announced they will launch a men’s and women’s tennis performance line. Designed with an emphasis on both contemporary styling and high-tech performance, the lines feature Antigua’s Desert Dry™ and Desert Dry™ Xtra Lite (D2XL) technical fabrics to help players compete at their best under all conditions. The Fall line will be available prior to this year’s U.S. Open. “Tennis has experienced a rebirth over the past decade; it’s one of the few sports that’s seen its participation numbers increase, so we’re happy to enter the market during this upward trend,” said Ron McPherson, President and CEO of Antigua Group. “Our tennis apparel will appeal to all players, from the fashion conscious to weekend warriors looking for an edge. And, as we do in golf, our tennis line will have the added benefit of our custom embroidery skill set and in-stock inventory business model.” Antigua is currently the official clothing sponsor of the WTA Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C. Tennis fans can visit the Antigua official website at shop.antigua.com to check out and purchase the tennis clothing line.