Tennis Channel, Wimbledon Agree to New Partnership Through 2036
July 9, 2021
LOS ANGELES, July 9, 2021 – Tennis Channel and the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) have agreed to a new media rights partnership through the 2036 edition of The Championships, Wimbledon – the oldest tournament in tennis and one of the most prestigious events in all of sports. The agreement adds 12 years to the existing relationship, which had been set to run through 2024. Under the new arrangement, Tennis Channel will produce a daily afternoon/evening show with highlights, match segments, original features, exclusive interviews and commentary throughout the annual competition, which is now closing in on its final weekend. It will also maintain a roster of Hall of Fame analysts that this year includes Martina Navratilova, Jim Courier and Lindsay Davenport, and others who provide similar coverage at all men’s and women’s tour events and the sport’s three other majors throughout the year.
Tennis Channel and the AELTC first brought Wimbledon to late afternoon, primetime and evening audiences in 2008. Due to time-zone differences Wimbledon matches take place in the early hours of the American morning and end while a majority of viewers are typically at work. The network’s coverage marked the first time U.S. tennis fans had the opportunity to watch the event at the conclusion of their day.
“Tennis Channel is humbled to deepen our long-term commitment to growing and evolving the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s crown jewel – Wimbledon – simultaneously the most forward thinking and magically traditional event in perhaps all of sports,” said Ken Solomon, president, Tennis Channel. “Our job as a dedicated media partner is to reflect all that the club and this storied annual event stand for in everything that we do, both during the tournament and throughout the entire year. Together with AELTC, we’ve proven that a broad TV audience will always be attracted to this time-honored competition if it’s available in higher viewing time periods. In this rapidly evolving media landscape, I can’t predict with any certainty what a TV network will look like in 2036, but I rest easy knowing Wimbledon will still be on Tennis Channel on that distant date.”
During Wimbledon, network viewers are taken through each day’s play by an on-air team of Hall of Famers and award-winning sportscasters. While the two-week tournament has historically paused play on its second Sunday, beginning in 2022 it will move to 14 days of competition from 13, adding another day to Tennis Channel’s telecast.
“It was important for us to continue the club’s longstanding partnership with Tennis Channel with this new agreement” said Mick Desmond, commercial and media director, AELTC. “Since 2008 we’ve been able to work together to grow our sport and bring Wimbledon to more fans than ever before.”
From its first summer on the hallowed grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Tennis Channel has tried to reflect Wimbledon’s unique spirit and sense of place. Over the years the network has featured a television set designed to resemble a traditional British pub; hundreds of guest interviews from all walks of tennis, sports and celebrity life; feature stories from and about host-city London and Wimbledon Village; and special moments like the presentations of International Tennis Hall of Fame rings to Wimbledon legend Navratilova and tennis broadcasting icon Bud Collins. The network’s on-air talent during this time has included Hall of Famers Jimmy Connors and Tracy Austin in addition to Navratilova, Courier and Davenport. These fan favorites have appeared alongside other former players like Paul Annacone and James Blake, and sports storytellers Bill Macatee, Ted Robinson, Brett Haber, Steve Weissman and Jon Wertheim.