PARIS, May 28, 2008 —
Network Commemorates 80th Anniversary of World’s Most Prestigious Tennis Clay Courts
Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the surrounding lifestyle, will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the home to Roland Garros (commonly referred to as the French Open) with a special documentary this Thursday, May 29, at 5:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. PT. Produced by London’s Media House, it will be the first time A History – A Story of Roland Garros will appear on U.S. television. It airs during the network’s comprehensive coverage of the sport’s second Grand Slam of the calendar and most prestigious clay-court competition in the sport.
Since its 1928 debut, Stade Roland Garros has been the majestic home of the annual French Open, one of tennis’ four major tournaments, which began in 1891.
Certain rituals and scenes in sports evoke timeless emotion: late-inning World Series heroics, Super Bowl introductions, the donning of The Masters’ green jacket, the start of the Indianapolis 500, the cutting down of NCAA championship basketball nets, the Stanley Cup held high. A History – A Story of Roland Garros captures everything that makes the soft, auburn-tinged clay that defines the French Open and its champions special. The hour-long documentary chronicles the stadium from its storied debut as the stomping grounds to France’s perennial Davis Cup-power “The Four Musketeers” in the late 1920s, through eight decades of pageantry in which every star in tennis took his or her shot at Grand Slam glory, to the spring rite of passage that has turned the red clay into a virtual playground for today’s French Open-unbeaten Rafael Nadal and recently-retired Justine Henin. Along the way the famous names who left their mark in the famed tournament “dirt” are recounted – Rene Lacoste, Suzanne Lenglen, Guillermo Vilas, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Yannick Noah, Steffi Graf and others – as is the event’s contribution to the cultural, political and fashion landscapes.
“The French Open at Stade Roland Garros has become synonymous with so many different images: springtime, clay-court tennis, triumph, Paris, the French fans,” said Victoria Quoss, executive vice president, programming and network strategy. “We’re excited to show Tennis Channel viewers the essence behind these hallowed grounds and how the greatest stars in the game’s history have fared here.”
This is the second year of Tennis Channel’s ground-breaking French Open coverage, which includes close to 100 hours of live match telecasts and nightly, three-and-half hour prime-time show French Open Tonight anchored by Bill Macatee. The network is producing all tournament-related programming in high definition, which can be seen by DIRECTV and DISH Network subscribers, who are also able to access special mosaic channels that allow them to watch multiple matches simultaneously or jump from court at their discretion.
Beyond its network television coverage of the French Open, Tennis Channel offers up to four live matches per day on its Web site, TennisChannel.com. These are complemented with additional on-demand video clips, including daily highlights, archived matches and original content. Tennis Channel is also working with Yahoo! Sports again this year to make highlights available to visitors of the number one online sports destination’s main tennis page.
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 the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus 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 national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.
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