LOS ANGELES, August 24, 2004 —
The Tennis Channel, the 24-hour cable television network devoted exclusively to tennis and other racquet sports, has partnered with Universal Pictures to joint-market Universal Pictures’ and Working Title Films’ upcoming release Wimbledon. The Tennis Channel’s has created an on-air “Win a Trip to Wimbledon” sweepstakes to support the film, which stars Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany and will be released in theaters nationwide Sept. 17, 2004. Also, the network is developing co-branded advertising in support of the sweepstakes, telecasting exclusive behind-the-scenes programming on the film and leveraging the network’s many relationships within the world of tennis to further support a strong box-office run for the film.
“Combining The Tennis Channel’s influence in the world of tennis with the mainstream recognition of Universal Pictures, we’ve been able to develop a marketing partnership capable of generating everything from grass-roots buzz for the film to national awareness of The Tennis Channel brand and product,” said Faye Walker, vice president, marketing, The Tennis Channel. “Wimbledon is a wonderful showcase of the sport of tennis, and we are very supportive of the effort.”
“The partnership (between Universal and The Tennis Channel) is the unique union between a movie that explores the story of two champion tennis players who discover love on their way to winning and the leading channel on tennis. We are able to target passionate tennis viewers and The Tennis Channel can offer its viewers something special through our film,” Kristin Petersen, senior vice president, Universal Studios Partnerships.
The Tennis Channel brings its cable marketing assets and influence among tennis enthusiasts to court to help promote the film on-air through a “Win a Trip to Wimbledon” sweepstakes. The sweepstakes will award one lucky winner with an invitation to the 2005 Wimbledon tournament, where VIP treatment awaits. “Win a Trip to Wimbledon” will be equally promoted online, on the network and in print, within the following publications: Tennis Week, Tennis Life, Florida Tennis, New England Tennis Magazine, Net News, Southern California Tennis and Golf and Atlantic Racquet Press.
To garner mainstream attention to the film and The Tennis Channel, the network is hosting pre-Sept. 17 screenings of Wimbledon in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland and Las Vegas. In addition, the network has brought online dating and personals service Match.com onboard as a sweepstakes promotional partner.
The channel’s coveted viewer and tennis enthusiast database is being employed to publicize the film and generate awareness for the sweepstakes. Furthering the grass-roots elements of the campaign, The Tennis Channel has been promoting the film at several tournaments this summer, including the Acura Classic in San Diego (July 26-Aug. 1) and Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati (Aug. 16-22). Additional outreach is planned for this week’s TD Waterhouse Cup in Commack, N.Y. (Aug. 23-29), and at the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Fla. (Sept. 13-19). Promotional efforts at each event include printed material display, distribution of information on Wimbledon both via hand-outs and with advertisements in the tournament programs, and sneak-peek of film footage on available screens/Jumbotrons between matches.
The Wimbledon partnership with NBC/Universal is just one of many special cable and affiliate marketing projects The Tennis Channel will employ to expand awareness of the network this year. During this past upfront season in New York, the channel hosted its inaugural “Spring Smashoff,” a tennis tournament pitting media buyers against one another. Among the network’s affiliate outreach efforts are the “Best Seat in the House” and “Best View in the House,” where The Tennis Channel-emblazoned stadium cushions and binoculars, respectively, are used to generate awareness.
Additionally, on Sept. 8, the network will telecast The Making of Wimbledon, an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the motion picture’s production.
About the Film
In the tradition of their hit romantic comedies Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary, Working Title Film’s Wimbledon is a sweet and funny tale of romance across the net. Peter Colt (Bettany) is an unlucky guy, scoring “love” both professionally and personally. Seeded near the bottom of the world tennis ranks, he manages to score a wild card, allowing him to play in the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. There, he meets and falls in love with American tennis star Lizzie Bradbury (Dunst). Fueled by a mixture of his newfound luck, love and on-court prowess, Peter works his way up the ranks of the tournament players and actually stands a chance of fulfilling his lifelong dream of winning the men’s singles title—if his luck can just hold out.
With Australian Wimbledon champion Pat Cash serving as tennis advisor on the film, Wimbledon was granted unprecedented access by The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTCC) to film during the 2003 championships, one of the sports world’s most prestigious and watched events.
Filming locations include Wimbledon, Shepperton Studios and London, with Sam Neill, Jon Favreau, Bernard Hill, Eleanor Bron, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Austin Nichols also in the cast. Wimbledon is directed by Richard Loncraine (Richard III) and produced by Working Titles’ Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Liza Chasin, and Mary Richards, and executive-produced by Debra Hayward and David Livingstone. The film is written by Adam Brooks (French Kiss) and Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin.
Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is part of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates the No. 1 television network, the fastest-growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.
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 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.