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The Tennis Channel and ITF Extend Relationship

LOS ANGELES, September 20, 2004

The Tennis Channel, a 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, has signed a six-year extension to maintain the U.S. telecast rights to the International Tennis Federation’s three prestigious competitions: Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup. The announcement was made today by Steve Bellamy, president and founder, The Tennis Channel, and Jan Menneken, executive director, commercial, the International Tennis Federation.

Other than U.S. Davis Cup matches, The Tennis Channel currently has the exclusive U.S. telecast rights to all Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hopman Cup competitions. The deal ensures that these world-renowned events – participated in by the most celebrated male and female tennis players throughout history – will continue to be carried on the network through December 2010.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to bring our audiences the gold standard in international tennis,” said Bellamy. “The cups are the most popular tennis events throughout the world. These events rival World Cup and the Olympics and in so many countries, with giant stadiums filled with screaming fans, painted faces and players circling the court draped in their country’s flag. We are going to invest a ton of resources to bring these great events and the incredible pageantry, color and magic to the living rooms of Tennis Channel subscribers.”

Governed by the ITF, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup are the three most prestigious team competitions in tennis.

Davis Cup is the largest annual international team competition in sports with 137 nations entered in 2004. Every great player, since the competition’s inception in 1900, has represented his country in Davis Cup. In many countries, Davis Cup ties are more popular than the sport’s four major tournaments, the Grand Slams, because they offer the passion that comes only when competing for country.

Fed Cup is the largest annual competition for women in sports. Founded in 1963, Fed Cup, like Davis Cup, was a magnet for the world’s best players, from Margaret Court and Billie Jean King to present-day stars like world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo and French Open champion Anastasia Myskina.

In addition to live tournament coverage, The Tennis Channel will continue to have access to the ITF’s extensive library of Davis Cup and Fed Cup highlights and classic-match footage.

“The ITF is delighted to extend its relationship with The Tennis Channel for another six years,” said Menneken. “Tennis fans throughout the United States will have a chance to see great Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hopman Cup matches never before available to them on television. The relationship between the ITF and The Tennis Channel is excellent and we look forward to working with them to strengthen the visibility of Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hopman Cup in the United States.”

The Hyundai Hopman Cup is the ITF’s International Mixed Team Competition, decided each January during a week in Perth, Australia. Each country’s team consists of one male and one female, who compete in head-to-head competitions that feature two singles and one doubles match, worth one point each. Hopman Cup was introduced in 1988 and quickly became one of the favorite events of the season, with players and spectators alike. Its unique format and engaging approach make it a great start to each year’s tennis calendar.

The extension comes on the eve of The Tennis Channel’s complete, live coverage of the sold-out Davis Cup semifinal between Spain and France in Alicante, Spain, this weekend. The network’s telecast begins Friday, Sept. 24, with the first of two singles matches carried live at 6 a.m. ET, followed upon its conclusion by the second. The doubles match Saturday, Sept. 25, is also live at 6 a.m. ET. Sunday, Sept. 26, features the last pair of singles matches, beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET. All matches will be repeated Tuesday, Sept. 28, beginning at 2 p.m. ET

France comes to the red clay of Alicante led by captain Guy Forget. His squad includes Arnaud Clement, who has won three of his four Davis Cup matches so far this year, Paul-Henri Mathieu, who made his debut against Russia in the 2002 Davis Cup Final, and 2004 Australian Open doubles champions Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra, who also reached the doubles final at the 2004 French Open.

Spain’s Davis Cup quartet features three players in the top 20. Fourth-ranked Carlos Moya won this year’s Telecom Italia Masters title in Rome before reaching the quarterfinals at both the French Open and Olympics this summer. No. 11 Juan Carlos Ferrero has a 2003 French Open championship on his resume, while No. 17 Tommy Robredo reached the semifinals at the ATP Masters Series Cincinnati last month. Not to be overlooked, 19-year-old Rafael Nadal is one of tennis’ rising – and most feared – young stars. Jordi Arrese captains the Spanish team, which reached last year’s Davis Cup Final.

The winner of the Spain-France semifinal will advance to play the winner of the tie between the United States and Belarus, also taking place this weekend in Charleston, S.C. More information on this year’s Davis Cup competition can be found online, at www.daviscup.com, where visitors can also sign up for a Davis Cup newsletter at the bottom of the home page.

The ITF is the world governing body of tennis and the owner and international rightsholder of the two largest annual international team competitions in sport, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup as well as the Hyundai Hopman Cup. The ITF organises the Olympic Tennis Event on behalf of the IOC and the Paralympic Tennis Event on behalf of the IPC. Through its Technical Department, the ITF monitors both equipment and technology and, through its Officiating Department, the education and advancement of officials worldwide. The ITF manages over 650 weeks of professional tournaments in Men’s and Women’s Circuit Events. Through its Tennis Development Department that oversees the development of tennis worldwide, the ITF manages the ITF Junior Circuit and Team Competitions for elite juniors as well as international tennis events and programs for wheelchair and senior players.

The Tennis Channel ( www.thetennischannel.com ) is the 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, and provides unparalleled coverage of the game, its elite championships and its superstar athletes. The network's comprehensive coverage includes telecasts of 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 Tennis Channel also showcases instruction from the finest teachers, legendary matches, in-depth profiles of the greatest players, analysis and news, the latest on equipment, and tennis getaways.

For Further information:
Eric Abner , Tennis Channel, 310-314-9445 or eabner@tennischannel.com