Tennis Channel, WTA Tour Reach Deal for Europe Coverage

January 4, 2022

Tennis Channel has reached a multiyear agreement with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) that makes the company’s regional channels home to the women’s professional tour in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and for most matches shown in the Netherlands. The network has been the only place to watch women’s tour tennis in the United States since 2019, but now will offer similar year-round coverage to customers in other markets for the first time through its subscription service and digital free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels. This includes the season-ending WTA Finals.

Beginning with the start of the 2022 season this week, Tennis Channel will telecast all WTA 1000, WTA 500 and WTA 250 events and the WTA Finals in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In the case of the Netherlands, WTA 1000 events will be shown on delay (local broadcaster Ziggo Sport will show these events live). Tennis Channel will feature all matches – approximately 800 a year – on its subscription service, and live matches on Tennis Channel Deutschland, its FAST channel on Samsung TV Plus and others, and plans to expand to additional streaming platforms. The service is a partnership with the German Tennis Federation.

Tennis Channel’s, the world’s most trafficked digital platform dedicated to the sport, will also become increasingly regionalized in support of the channels in Europe. In addition to the year-round tournament competition, the site will promote the original content that is tailored to the local tennis community and professional players, as well as profiles, news, instruction and other features from and about tennis’ worldwide ecosystem.

After launching in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in April 2020, Tennis Channel has grown its footprint to reach customers in Greece, India, the United Kingdom and, now, the Netherlands.

“We couldn’t be more excited to extend our partnership with the WTA into these countries, and to add the Netherlands to the ever-widening group of territories outside the U.S. where fans can watch dedicated regional Tennis Channels,” said Ken Solomon, president, Tennis Channel. “Since the network’s founding nearly two decades ago, we’ve always prepared for global expansion. We’ve worked with the WTA and other leaders in the sport to prove the thesis at home, that tennis better competes on the sports landscape when a suite of namesake media platforms let fans follow it the way it is played around the planet every day of the year. We’ve grown the sport together in the highly competitive American market, and now we’re thrilled to take this model to others.”

Tennis Channel and the WTA have a long-running media partnership. The network has carried women’s tennis every year since its debut in May 2003. Beginning in 2019, the television channel and its U.S.-based Tennis Channel Plus streaming platform became the exclusive homes of the tour for American tennis fans. In addition to making more live and on-demand women’s tennis available to viewers than ever before, Tennis Channel has highlighted these great athletes with streaming channels dedicated to individual players (a Serena Williams Channel with archived matches of hers, for example) and in helping them raise their profiles and pursue interests away from the court (as with Victoria Azarenka’s Think About It general-interview podcast on the Tennis Channel Podcast Network). WTA players annually star in digital series like My Tennis Life, interacting with viewers on air, online and via social media. For years, the network also has added active players to its on-air team as analysts and interviewers while they recover from injury, among them Sloane Stephens, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Shelby Rogers and Genie Bouchard.

“The WTA has been able to grow the exposure and brands of players, tournaments and the Tour itself in the U.S., working side by side with Tennis Channel to advance the sport across all media platforms,” said Micky Lawler, WTA president. “The awareness of our world-class athletes has never been higher, both in the U.S. and around the world, and this is the chance for us to leverage what we’ve created in America in additional marketplaces. We’re happy that existing and new fans in these countries will be able to follow every WTA match on their own Tennis Channels.”

Germany, the birthplace of tennis legends Steffi Graf and Boris Becker, and current three-time major champion Angelique Kerber, is home to one of the largest national tennis federations in the world. Its rabid fan base made it a natural fit for Tennis Channel’s first venture outside the United States in the spring of 2020, along with neighboring Austria and Switzerland. With a local focus on rising stars and established professionals in those countries, the first live coverage on Tennis Channel there was a four-day tournament of eight men’s tour players competing in a venue without fans while the sport was on hiatus due to the outbreak of Covid-19. The service rapidly began adding live programming, including men’s and women’s tour events and Germany’s Bundesliga, the world’s top team tennis league, and has streamed more than 2,000 matches to date. Now, the best players in women’s tennis will appear on the platform throughout the year, complementing other live coverage, documentaries, features and instruction.

“The response Tennis Channel has received from subscribers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland has exceeded our expectations and shown how voracious the appetite is for regional and worldwide tennis, allowing us to greatly expand the service since it first rolled out,” said Andy Reif, senior vice president, Tennis Channel International. “We’re proud to become the media home of women’s tennis in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and our partnership with the WTA is a testament to what we have been able to achieve in less than two years. We fully expect tennis fans here to enjoy Tennis Channel’s unparalleled coverage of the sport in the same way audiences in the U.S. have for many years. We also look forward to bringing new Tennis Channels to hungry fans – and growing new ones – in other territories around the globe.”