Tennis Channel will cover its first US Open with 72 live match hours, 240 hours of dedicated tournament programming overall, a reporters’ station on top of Armstrong Stadium that overlooks the iconic Unisphere and Court of Champions, wireless roving cameras, round-the-clock coverage and a viewer “Grounds Pass” experience the likes of which has never been seen on television. It is also bringing a timeless name so many sports fans associate with the energetic event – Jimmy Connors – back to the U.S. broadcasting booth for the first time in almost two decades.
Beyond its live, high-definition coverage which, with ESPN2 and CBS, brings more hours of US Open matches to television than ever in history, Tennis Channel will keep viewers in the Flushing Meadow loop 24 hours a day via US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open. Like the city that never sleeps, these news, interview, highlight and replay shows will air from 11 p.m.-11 a.m. ET each day of the two-week tournament, and bridge the late-night gap between each day’s on-court play.
Tennis Channel’s typical US Open schedule starts with 11 a.m. ET coverage from Arthur Ashe Stadium or Louis Armstrong Stadium, and follows the action throughout the day until 7 p.m. ET. US Open Tonight begins at 11 p.m. ET and runs through the night until 6 a.m. ET, when Breakfast at the Open carries viewers up to the 11 a.m. ET start of play. The day portion of this schedule changes on Labor Day Weekend when the network carries prime-time matches from center court from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. ET. As with the other three Grand Slams, Tennis Channel will work with ESPN2 to bring fans virtually round-the-clock coverage during the US Open, each network utilizing its own commentators.
Since the 2007 French Open, Tennis Channel’s Grand Slam coverage has featured veteran sportscaster Bill Macatee and Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova. With the 2009 US Open the network adds Connors to that mix as a lead analyst with Navratilova and puts, for the first time ever, the all-time men’s and women’s singles titlists in the same broadcast booth. To this day an iconic tennis figure for a generation of American fans, Connors won the US Open singles championship five times and is the only person in the 127-year history of the event to win on three surfaces: grass, clay and hard courts. Playing at the tournament’s Forest Hills’ home prior to its current site, Connors won the event on grass and clay, before capturing another three hard-court titles at the event’s current home. No male tennis player has collected more singles titles (109), played in more tournaments (401) or won more matches (1,337-285, an .824 win percentage) than Connors. He brings this unparalleled perspective to the American broadcast booth for the first time since 1991.
“I’m excited to be a part of Tennis Channel’s US Open team and can’t wait to get back to New York,” said Connors. “There’s nothing in tennis like the US Open. I’m looking forward to helping Bill, Martina and everyone else at the network change the way the tournament is seen on television.”
Also returning to the Tennis Channel Grand Slam team are lead commentators Ted Robinson and Ian Eagle, along with former players Leif Shiras, Katrina Adams, Jimmy Arias, Justin Gimelstob and Corina Morariu. Based in Los Angeles, US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open will be hosted by sports anchor and Entertainment Tonight host Kevin Frazier, who will share duties with 1998 US Open-winner Lindsay Davenport. Tennis Channel’s Court Report segments with anchor Jill Arrington will also appear every hour during these programs.
Like the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, Tennis Channel’s approach to its inaugural US Open coverage is to provide viewers with an immersive experience that can only be replicated by actually attending the event itself. Audiences will receive a two-week “Grounds Pass” to Flushing Meadow that allows them take in the matches and activities that occur at various points in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, beyond just the featured on-court action at Ashe Stadium. To accomplish this, the network will position a 20-by-24 glass-enclosed booth and three cameras on top of Armstrong Stadium, overlooking the fountain and common area. Tennis Channel is the first network to utilize the space in this way and, as the hub of its US Open broadcasts, the booth will typically feature Robinson and Eagle with the unique backdrop of Ashe Stadium, thousands of spectators and general tournament activity. From this center the network will take viewers around the grounds to wherever the latest story is unfolding, be it center court with Macatee, Connors and Navratilova, or one of the outer courts via a rolling jib camera, also a US Open first.
To further the television audience’s sense of actually being at the US Open, Gimelstob and Morariu will act as wireless reporters, roving the grounds and interacting with fans and celebrities, and reporting activities and events that give the tournament its distinct flavor. During US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open, Davenport will demonstrate on-court strategy, positioning and other instruction via an in-studio tennis court¸ in addition to regular updates and interviews from New York in the persons of Macatee and the others from the on-site team.
Broadband and Digital Coverage
In addition to live scoring and US Open radio throughout the tournament, Tennis Channel’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com will offer daylong, live streaming during the first week of the US Open. Other full-time video on the network’s www.tennis-channel.com player includes archived matches, behind-the-scenes footage, shorts, Court Report, interviews and highlights. The Web site again features Tennis Channel’s “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game, an interactive draw, daily polls, “All Access Pass” sweepstakes information, tennis reporter Steve Flink’s column and blogger James LaRosa’s unique tennis-fan’s perspective, both of the latter from the tournament grounds. Visitors additionally will have the opportunity to engage with the US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open studio sets.
The network is partnering with Sports Illustrated to share video on the publication’s online tennis page, and fans can also see Tennis Channel video at www.youtube.com/tennischannel. Tennis Channel’s official Twitter feed, www.twitter.com/tennischannel, will offer updates from Flushing Meadow, as will its Facebook site, www.facebook.com/tennischannel.
Tennis Channel’s Live 2009 US Open Match Schedule – Entirely in High Definition
Date Time (ET) Event
Monday, Aug. 31 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round Action
Tuesday, Sept. 1 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round Action
Wednesday, Sept. 2 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round, Second-Round Action
Thursday, Sept. 3 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Second-Round Action
Friday, Sept. 4 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Second-Round, Third-Round Action
Saturday, Sept. 5 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Third-Round Action
Sunday, Sept. 6 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Third-Round, Round-of-16 Action
Tuesday, Sept. 8 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Round-of-16 Action, Doubles
Wednesday, Sept. 9 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Doubles Quarterfinals, Mixed Semifinals
Thursday, Sept. 10 8 a.m.-Noon Doubles, Juniors
Tennis Channel will also offer same-day replays of the men’s and women’s singles finals and women’s semifinals, and next-morning replays of the men’s semifinals (all times ET):
Friday, Sept. 11 – 7 p.m.-11 p.m.: women’s semifinals
Saturday, Sept. 12 – 11 p.m.-6 a.m.: women’s final; men’s semifinals
Sunday, Sept. 13 – 6 a.m.-1 p.m.: women’s final; men’s semifinals; 11 p.m.-2 a.m.: men’s final
Monday, Sept. 14 – 2 a.m.-5 a.m.; 6 a.m.-9 a.m.: men’s final
Tennis Channel’s US Open Tonight, Breakfast at the Open Schedule
US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open run evenings and mornings throughout the US Open, Monday, Aug. 31-Monday, Sept. 14. The schedule, which begins on the first day of play, is as follows (all times ET):
11 p.m.-3 a.m. – US Open Tonight
3 a.m.-6 a.m. – US Open Tonight (encore)
6 a.m.-10 a.m. – Breakfast at the Open
10 a.m.-11 a.m. – Breakfast at the Open (second edition)
Beginning with US Open Tonight on Saturday, Sept. 12, all editions of both shows consist of encore replays of the men’s semifinals and finals and women’s finals, concluding with Breakfast at the Open on Monday, Sept. 14. During this time the above schedule differs slightly due to varying match lengths.
Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle. 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 a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.
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