AT&T U-verse®, Comcast and DIRECTV Subscribers to See Hallowed
Tournament’s Red Clay Fly Like Never Before on U.S. Television
75 Live Hours, 42 First-Run Hours of French Open Tonight and
Close to 250 Hours of Overall Tournament Coverage Begins May 22 in Paris
On-Air Team Features Navratilova, McEnroe, Davenport,
Collins, Carillo, Macatee, Robinson, Eagle
Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will bring the world’s most prestigious clay-court tournament to American televisions in 3-D for the first time during this year’s French Open coverage. Working with AT&T U-verse®, Comcast and DIRECTV the network will telecast all matches from center court – the postcard-perfect Philippe Chatrier Court – in 3-D during Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30. Viewers who subscribe to one of these three pay-TV providers will be able to access the more than 20 hours of match coverage.
Though Grand Slam tennis action has appeared in 3-D on U.S. television networks before, this will be the first time for the French Open, so symbolized by its surface of luxurious red clay, extended rallies and passionate, vocal stadium crowds.
“Tennis Channel prides itself on bringing this sport to our viewers through state-of-the-art broadcast quality that’s second to none,” said Larry Meyers, executive producer and senior vice president, production, Tennis Channel. “In keeping with this, we’re happy to work with AT&T U-verse, Comcast and DIRECTV to be the first network to offer the French Open to U.S. audiences in 3-D. We always say we want viewers to feel like they’re actually in Paris at the French Open when they tune into Tennis Channel, and the images of red clay flying through their televisions at them in 3-D this year will only add to this effort.”
In all Tennis Channel’s fifth year at the French Open will bring more than 75 hours of live or first-run matches to viewers, with another dozen hours of men’s and women’s semifinal same-day encores. The network will carry at least seven live hours a day for the first nine days of the competition, with coverage beginning at 5 a.m. ET (a complete schedule follows, below).
French Open Tonight, hosted by Bill Macatee, will be back each evening for three-and-half hours of highlights, interviews, analysis and special reports from the tournament grounds and Paris at large. Typically running from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET., the show’s set will again be perched above the French Open’s famed Musketeer Plaza, right in the heart of the crowd. Each night at its conclusion French Open Tonight immediately re-airs twice in its entirety all night and early morning up to the start of the next day’s coverage of live matches. Tennis Channel will produce 42 hours of French Open Tonight this year, with 139 overall hours dedicated to the show during the two-week competition.
Tennis Channel has worked with ESPN2 to bring viewers almost non-stop coverage between the two networks, and will do so again. On most days Tennis Channel’s live matches run from 5 a.m.-noon ET, at which point ESPN2 takes the court until 6:30 p.m. ET, then hands it back over to Tennis Channel’s French Open Tonight. French Open Tonight then runs through the night until the next day’s play. Tennis Channel produces all coverage for both channels, with each cross-promoting the other’s schedule and making use of its own on-air team. All French Open production is in high definition.
Since announcing Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova as lead analysts in 2007, Tennis Channel has continued to add to the star power of its French Open talent roster. New to the team in 2011 is Mary Carillo, one of the most respected sports journalists in the industry, a long-time tennis broadcaster and a 1977 French Open mixed doubles champion with McEnroe. Carillo will host the network’s live tournament desk, conduct interviews, offer perspective and analysis, and handle play-by-play duties during select matches. She will also develop human interest stories and segments during the two-week event. Additionally, Grand Slam winner Lindsay Davenport is back at Roland Garros for the network in 2011, in the first year of her recently signed multiyear, year-round on-air agreement.
Meanwhile, Justin Gimelstob, Corina Morariu, Katrina Adams and Barry MacKay will offer analysis again for the network in Paris this year, along with returning play-by-play men Ted Robinson, Ian Eagle and Leif Shiras. On any given night any one of Tennis Channel’s live-match broadcasters could make an in-person appearance on French Open Tonight with Macatee, and likely each one of them will at some point during the two-week event. In addition to Macatee, the primetime show will feature the talents of Bud Collins, the reporter, broadcaster, writer and expert who has literally written the book on the sport with his Tennis Encyclopedia. They will be joined by Cari Champion, anchor and reporter for Tennis Channel’s year-round Court Report news segment. She will resume the role she held last year, covering the tournament’s grounds and its famous host city, and bringing the off-court bustle and pageantry to viewers back home.
Tennis Channel has streamed live and on-demand matches for free on its Web site, www.tennischannel.com, since it began covering the French Open. This will continue in 2011, with another 10 days of 125 matches and 200 hours of online tennis. However, an upgraded video player will bring it all to viewers at much faster speeds and in high-definition quality. Other new features include picture-in-picture tools, digital video recorder (DVR) capabilities and the option of watching multiple courts simultaneously. In fact, given Tennis Channel’s extensive video-on-demand archives, the Web site’s new video player will allow a site visitor to have up to 20 screens of different matches playing at the same time.
Tennis Channel’s redesigned online video page will again offer daily French Open highlights, player interviews, on-the-ground features and French Open Tonight segments. Other www.tennischannel.com features include real-time scoring, exclusive photos, interactive tournament draws, sweepstakes information and the “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game. In addition, veteran tennis reporter Matt Cronin will write for Tennis Channel for the first time during the French Open this year, penning a few columns each week as he begins a year-round presence on the network Web site. He joins returning scribes Steve Flink, Joel Drucker and James LaRosa.
Tennis Channel’s Live 2011 French Open Match Schedule – Entirely in High Definition
(Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)
Date Time (ET) Event
Sunday, May 22 5 a.m.-1 p.m. First-Round Action
Monday, May 23 5 a.m.-3 p.m. First-Round Action
Tuesday, May 24 5 a.m.-Noon First-Round Action
Wednesday, May 25 5 a.m.-Noon Second-Round Action
Thursday, May 26 5 a.m.-Noon Second-Round Action
Friday, May 27 5 a.m.-Noon Third-Round Action
Saturday, May 28 5 a.m.-Noon Third-Round Action
Sunday, May 29 5 a.m.-Noon Round-of-16 Action
Monday, May 30 5 a.m.-Noon Round-of-16 Action
Tuesday, May 31 8 a.m.-Noon Quarterfinals
Wednesday, June 1 8 a.m.-Noon Quarterfinals
Thursday, June 2 5 a.m.-8 a.m. Men’s Doubles Semifinals
Tennis Channel will also offer same-day replays of the singles semifinals (ET):
Thursday, June 2 – 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: women’s singles semifinals
Friday, June 3 – 5 p.m.-midnight: men’s semifinals
Tennis Channel’s French Open Tonight Schedule
French Open Tonight airs Sunday, May 22-Thursday, June 2, and typically runs from 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. ET, and is then repeated twice from 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.-5 a.m. These are the exceptions are (ET):
Monday, May 23; Saturday, May 28; and Sunday, May 29 – 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m., repeated at 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m., 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.-5 a.m.
Additionally, shortened encore editions of French Open Tonight will air Tuesday, May 31, and Wednesday, June 1, from 5 a.m.-8 a.m.
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 World Tour Masters 1000 events, top-tier WTA competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 MSOs, Verizon FiOS TV, AT&T U-verse, DIRECTV and DISH Network.