LOS ANGELES, May 10, 2006 —
Entrepreneur to Pursue Other Passions After Helping
to Establish Successful Network
The Tennis Channel, the fast-growing cable, satellite and new media network, today announced that Founder and President Steve Bellamy is stepping down from the channel to pursue other interests.
“I’ve been contemplating this for a while and believe it is the right time to make this change,” said Bellamy. “Although tennis is one of my life’s main passions, and the knowledge, experience and relationships gained over the past seven years at The Tennis Channel were an incredible gift, there are a few other things in life that I’m really excited about doing. The rigors of travel for a hands-on, year-round international sport make it hard on family life, so before all of the summer tournaments begin it makes sense to make this move. When the network began I had one child, and today I have four.
“My goal was very specific and deliberate in terms of what we needed to accomplish with The Tennis Channel: to get tennis on television 24 hours a day. We’ve done that and now it’s a firmly established media property that’s ready to move up to the next level. It started with just me and a phone in my backyard cabana, and now is an asset that is integrated into almost every facet of the sport. It is in the best of hands with Ken Solomon (chairman and CEO, The Tennis Channel) and a first-rate team of executives. I can step away now with confidence in the network’s future.”
“Steve is a visionary, entrepreneur and leader who is responsible for so much of the success we have already achieved,” said Solomon. “This network would not be where it is today without his unending enthusiasm for tennis and desire for a multimedia platform devoted to the sport. He remains a friend to the network and a significant stakeholder in the company, and we look forward to sharing with him the fruits of our continuing success. Everyone at The Tennis Channel wishes Steve the very best in his future endeavors.”
A longtime fan of and cheerleader for the sport, Bellamy has been involved in numerous tennis-industry capacities both before and since founding The Tennis Channel, including facilities owner, promoter, tournament director, marketer, analyst, coach who has worked with some of the best players in the game and one of the sport’s most noted evangelists. In 1985, he founded Atonal Tennis, Inc., which built, bought and operated tennis centers and businesses, including the Palisades Tennis Center, Santa Monica Tennis Center and Westchester Tennis Academy in the Los Angeles area. Bellamy also appears frequently as a radio and television news tennis analyst, and is a member of the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) board of directors, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Foundation, United States Tennis Association (USTA) Public Parks Task Force and International Tennis Federation (ITF) Joint Media Commission. He is the 2005 recipient of the Kelley School of Business’ highest honor, The Distinguished Entrepreneur’s Award, and the inaugural Daily Tennis Person of the Year Award, to be named after him in coming years.
Bellamy also served as tournament director for the network’s Tennis Channel Open, an annual Las Vegas tennis festival that includes ATP men’s, ITF women’s and USTA juniors’ tournaments, surrounded by a variety of competitions and ancillary entertainment events. This spring marked the first Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas, which featured several of the top names in men’s tennis and is considered by many in the sport to be a major advancement in the tennis fan experience. The tournament broke new ground, with world championship paddle tennis, air hockey, table tennis, cheerleaders, racket-stringing and fast-serve competitions, motocross displays and more.
The Tennis Channel will continue to build on both its tennis industry relations and mission of growing the game at both the professional and personal/grassroots levels. Its management team will focus on furthering mutually beneficial partnerships with all the sport’s stakeholders. This includes working with governing bodies, players, tournament directors, rights holders, sponsors, equipment manufacturers and others to develop new ways to leverage the channel’s unique national footprint, which speaks 24/7/365 to a pre-qualified, tennis-loving audience. In addition, an executive will be named in the near future to spearhead overall tennis industry relations for the network.
The Tennis Channel has secured long-term agreements with 8 of the top 10 cable distributors and currently serves 19 of the top 20 U.S. markets. Just prior to its Tennis Channel Open, the professional “Tennispalooza” tournament in February, the network announced a long-term carriage agreement with Echostar’s DISH Network satellite service, affording the channel a national footprint covering virtually all U.S. television households. The network recently added US Davis Cup coverage to its already industry-leading concentration of live sports coverage, and launched its newest original series, tennis travel show Destination Tennis. In addition, the multiplatform brand has re-launched its signature Web site, which includes more user information and rich original broadband video content, plus minute-long Webisodes of Tennis Shorts on topics ranging from staying in playing shape with cardio tennis to taking the perfect tennis vacation.
The Tennis Channel (www.thetennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the healthy, active lifestyle that surrounds it, and forges the personal connection between the professionals on the court and the game’s millions of aficionados. The home for people who watch, play and live their passions through tennis, the network is a hybrid of comprehensive sports coverage, health and fitness programming, pop culture and entertainment access, and lifestyle and travel information. The Tennis Channel is the most concentrated single-sport network in television, with telecast rights to the US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup, the combination of which offer the compelling, ongoing story of the game’s most dramatic rivalries, energetic personalities and emotional, yearlong journey.
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