LOS ANGELES, February 20, 2008 —
Contest to be Streamed on Network Web Site
Tennis Channel will televise the upcoming exhibition match between all-time Grand Slam champion, Pete Sampras, and current threat to his crown, Roger Federer. The NetJets Showdown produced in association with The Marquis Jet Card and Men’s Vogue is set for Monday, March 10, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The NetJets Showdown, dubbed “A Battle for Tennis History,” will mark the first time since 2000 that tennis has been played at the venue often referred to as “the world’s most famous arena.” Tennis Channel’s live coverage of the highly-anticipated competition takes place 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET.
John McEnroe will be in the analyst’s seat for Tennis Channel’s coverage of the event, with play-by-play from veteran sports commentator Ted Robinson. Recently retired player Justin Gimelstob rounds out the network’s on-air team, reporting courtside during the historic clash. In addition to the match participants Gimelstob will talk with the many New York-area celebrities expected to be in Madison Square Garden that evening.
“Madison Square Garden is the perfect arena for this match between two of the game’s all-time heavyweights, and for their first meeting in the U.S.,” said Victoria Quoss, executive vice president of programming and network strategy, Tennis Channel. “Tennis Channel is proud to offer tennis fans the opportunity to see this monumental sports event, the fourth meeting between these two renowned figures.”
In 2001 a young Federer won the only professional meeting between the two stars in the fourth round of Wimbledon, a fiercely contested battle that ended Sampras’ 31-match tournament win streak, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5. It was the first time in Sampras’ Wimbledon career that the seven-time champion lost a fifth set, and many left thinking either player could have emerged victorious.
Sampras, 36, retired in 2002 after winning the US Open and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame last year. He, along with fellow Hall of Famer Rod Laver, is argued by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time. The 26-year-old Federer’s name is increasingly added to the debate.
The 2008 tennis season is highlighted by Federer’s chase of Sampras’ record 14 Grand Slam championships. Federer’s 12 titles put him in second place on history’s Grand Slam list, tied with legend Roy Emerson. Federer has won the past five Wimbledon and past four US Open championships, and will be favored to repeat as champion at each in 2008.
Tennis Channel will also cover a special pre-match ceremony honoring Patrick McEnroe, who captained the U.S. Davis Cup team to the 2007 championship. The team, which included Andy Roddick, James Blake, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, defeated defending-champion Russia in December’s final round. Though it was the most recent of the United States’ record 32 Davis Cup titles, it had been 12 years since an American team last won the coveted trophy, which is the highest honor in international men’s team tennis.
In addition to televising the historic Sampras-Federer meeting, Tennis Channel will stream the match online at www.tennischannel.com beginning Monday, March 17.
Tennis Channel also had exclusive U.S. telecast rights for the Federer-Sampras face-off in November during an exciting exhibition series of matches throughout Asia. The world’s current No. 1 tennis player, Federer won in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur before Sampras closed out the best-of-three series with a victory in Macau.
The NetJets Showdown is a StarGames production in association with eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl and Madison Square Garden. The competition benefits The Dream Vaccine Initiative, in association with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
StarGames, LLC (www.stargamesinc.com) is a full service sports marketing and production company based outside of Boston. Now in its 14th year, StarGames produces programming for television, broadband and DVD home distribution. In addition, StarGames creates and produces live sporting/entertainment events, represents professional athletes and operates its own broadband channels through affiliations with YouTube and TVUNetworks.
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 DISH Network.
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