LOS ANGELES, October 23, 2007 —
Speculation Confirmed after Definite Article’s Months-Long Absence
Network Now Known as “Tennis Channel”
The, considered by many to be the first word of Tennis Channel, is ending months of speculation and officially retiring from the network’s name, effective immediately. The definite article made the announcement today at a press conference in Los Angeles with Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, Tennis Channel.
“After years of network service – service that predates our launch in 2003 – The is retiring from Tennis Channel’s name for a much-deserved rest and to pursue other opportunities in the new media world,” said Solomon. “It is a bittersweet moment for our channel, especially given all that The has contributed as we’ve grown in tournament coverage, original programming, distribution and advertising sales. Our marketing materials alone won’t be the same. But we’ve been prepared for this and feel confident in that the duo of Tennis and Channel have been there with The since the beginning, and we’re excited to be known as simply Tennis Channel from now on.”
The based the decision to step down now on a number of factors, most notably a successful career as part of the network’s name and the need to spend more time with its family of other articles, auxiliary verbs and subordinate conjunctions. Though retiring from Tennis Channel today, The is not leaving the game completely: the definite article plans to follow a lengthy relaxation period with the pursuit of other noun-preceding opportunities, including those in the television, tennis and new media industries.
“We really had to look at how we wanted to wean our viewers off The’s contribution to Tennis Channel, from a marketing standpoint,” said Robyn Miller, senior vice president, marketing, Tennis Channel. “We talked about keeping The involved in a part-time capacity or in a consultant’s role. But at the end of the day, we weren’t able to get the same benefit from calling it T Tennis Channel or he Tennis Channel, and both The and Tennis Channel realized a clean break was going to be the best situation for each side.”
With just a few appearances as part of the network name in 2007, The last participated in an official Tennis Channel press release on March 2, as part of an announcement from the network’s Las Vegas-based tennis tournament. Though The made it official today, it was widely rumored that the definite article would formally call it quits following Tennis Channel’s coverage of the Davis Cup championship in Portland, Ore., Nov. 30-Dec. 2, which will be the first final on U.S. soil since 1992, and which features a U.S. team that’s hopeful of winning the country’s first Davis Cup title since 1995.
The first joined Tennis Channel’s name in 1999, when the fledging network was in its concept stage in Southern California, prior to its formal launch in May 2003. Since then The has appeared in more than 125 press releases, 800 on-air promos, and 600 print and online advertisements and premiums. Given such an extensive body of work over the past eight years, tennis insiders were already predicting induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in The’s future, even before the its retirement from Tennis Channel’s name became official today.
“I think we’ll be looking at Hall of Fame consideration,” said Kat Anderson, marketing and public relations manager, International Tennis Hall of Fame. “The’s career accomplishments as part of Tennis Channel’s name will render numerous nominations for induction. For so long now, when people in tennis thought of Tennis Channel, The was usually the first thing that came to mind. As part of the network’s name, The has been a significant contributor to the tennis landscape.”
Hall of Fame or otherwise, The’s retirement has increased speculation within Hollywood that the definite article is strongly considering a game show role as its next development project. It is well known that The has had a number of meetings with talent agencies this summer, including William Morris, ICM and CAA, and is widely rumored to be interested in potential opportunities on word-related shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and as a replacement for host Jeff Foxworthy on Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? In spring 2005, The expressed interest in acquiring Schoolhouse Rock!’s “Conjunction Junction” with the backing of several Wall Street-based hedge funds.
While The opted for no public comment other than announcing its retirement, representatives for the definite article said it has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and had accomplished everything it set out to do during its Tennis Channel career, playing a key role as the network grew to cover multiple tournaments, including three Grand Slams in 2008, and to be seen now in 20 million homes through recent launches on satellite providers DISH Network and DIRECTV.
Highlights and milestones of The’s Tennis Channel name career, 1999-2007:
· 1999 – The makes first appearance in Tennis Channel’s name
· Nov. 18, 2002 – The debuts in first Tennis Channel press release, announcing racquet sports telecast rights; first word following FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, a position The would repeatedly play throughout career
· April 26, 2003 – The first appears on network as part of official name, during a special preview in the weeks leading up to the channel’s May launch
· May 15, 2003 – The referenced on air daily as Tennis Channel launches full time
· March 2004 – The loses hard-fought creative services battle to be included in network’s newly re-branded logo; later refers to it as sole disappointment of Tennis Channel career
· July 12, 2004 – The announces wide-ranging telecast agreement with USTA for comprehensive network coverage of newly created US Open Series of top-level summer tournaments
· Feb. 21, 2005 – The included in Tennis Channel signage at network-owned ATP tournament
· Feb, 17, 2006 – The appears in 100th press release, announcing the launch of new travel and lifestyle series Destination Tennis
· Feb 27, 2006 – The tops announcement of Tennis Channel’s launch on EchoStar’s DISH Network satellite TV service, giving the television network its first nationwide footprint
· June 14, 2006 – The appears repeatedly on re-launched Tennis Channel Web site
· August 24, 2006 – The leads off landmark press release announcing Tennis Channel’s acquisition of French Open telecast rights and the network’s first Grand Slam coverage
· December 11, 2006 – The makes seven appearances in press release announcing a significant financial investment in Tennis Channel by the USTA
· January 30, 2007 – The involved in groundbreaking multimedia alliance between ESPN and Tennis Channel to jointly cover French Open, Australian Open Grand Slams
· March 2, 2007 – The makes last press release appearance in announcement detailing Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman’s involvement in “Fabulous Las Vegas Night” at the network’s Tennis Channel Open tournament
· April 16, 2007 – The is noticeably absent from major Tennis Channel press release announcing much-anticipated launch of network on DIRECTV later in summer
· Summer 2007 – The phased from Tennis Channel employee e-mail addresses
· Oct. 23, 2007 – The announces official retirement from Tennis Channel name; leaves network with new name: Tennis Channel
Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and passionate lifestyle of tennis. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to Wimbledon, Roland Garros (the French Open), the Australian Open, US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by eight of the top 10 MSOs and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and Echostar’s DISH Network.
# # #