LOS ANGELES, June 23, 2004 —
The Tennis Channel, the 24-hour cable television network devoted exclusively to tennis and other racquet sports, and World TeamTennis today announced unprecedented, prime-time television coverage of the WTT season. During three weeks in July, on three consecutive weeknights at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, the network will present a current match, a classic battle or a week-in-review highlights program. The Tennis Channel will also cover the championship final live, Saturday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.
From July 12-28 the network will feature prime-time WTT, Monday through Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, anchored by a Monday Night Match of the Week. Each Tuesday, The Tennis Channel will air a classic match and Wednesdays, a weekly highlights program, World TeamTennis This Week. Monday Night Match of the Week coverage will include former world No. 1 doubles player Anna Kournikova, 2004 Roland Garros quarterfinalist Maria Sharapova and two-time U.S. Open champion Patrick Rafter. The Tennis Channel caps the 2004 WTT season with its live championship coverage from the USTA National Tennis Center.
"World TeamTennis has become a mainstay of the summer tennis season since its inception and merges raucous crowds with its exciting format," said Bruce Rider, executive vice president, programming and marketing, The Tennis Channel. "We're particularly excited to give fans three regularly scheduled prime-time slots each week during the World TeamTennis season."
The World TeamTennis Pro League presented by ADT is made up of 10 franchises comprising two conferences, and features sudden death matches and boisterous crowd participation. The brainchild of Billie Jean King and her former husband Larry King, the league has showcased many of tennis' premier players since its debut in 1974. The 2004 season runs from July 5-25.
"It's really wonderful that tennis finally has its own dedicated channel and WTT is excited to be part of that programming," said WTT CEO and Commissioner Ilana Kloss. "Our crowds are animated - cheering for their local team and for tennis' top-ranked players - and it's great that tennis fans, nationwide, who haven't had the chance to attend these events live, can witness that energy. It also gives cities, that might be interested in a new franchise, a chance to see the exciting format."
The Tennis Channel Programming Schedule for WTT
Monday Night Match of the Week: 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Each Monday Night Match of the Week will be produced in high-definition for telecasts on INHD, a 24-hour high-definition television network owned and operated by iN DEMAND Networks.
Monday, July 12 - Kansas City Explorers @ NY Sportimes
The match will showcase Anna Kournikova, competing for Kansas City
Monday, July 19 - Sacramento Capitals @ Newport Beach Breakers
Maria Sharapova defends Newport Beach
Monday, July 26 - Springfield (Mo.) Lasers @ Philadelphia Freedoms
Former No. 1 singles player Patrick Rafter leads Philadelphia
Tuesday Classic Battles: 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Tuesday, July 6, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT - Seaport Cascades vs. San Diego Friars
1977 classic match with Rod Laver, Tom Gorman and Betty Stove
Tuesday, July 13 - Golden Gators vs. Phoenix Racquets
1977 match featuring Chris Evert and Françoise Durr
Tuesday, July 20 - Charlotte Heat vs. Miami Beach Breakers
1987 championship match
Tuesday, July 27 - A tribute to Jimmy Connors, who competed for the L.A. Strings from 1991-1993, Phoenix Smash in 1994, Kansas City Explorers in 1998 and Philadelphia Freedoms in 2001
Wednesday World TeamTennis This Week: July 15, 21, 28; 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Live Championship Final Coverage on The Tennis Channel: Saturday, Aug. 28, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT
WTT League Background
Billie Jean King and Larry King originated World TeamTennis and its unique gender-equity team concept in the early 70's. The format used for a WTT Pro League match features teams comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Each match consists of five sets, with one set each of men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles. The WTT Pro League is presented by ADT Security Services. Other official WTT Pro League sponsors include Advanta, AstraZeneca, Gatorade, Penn Tennis Balls and Wilson Rackets. For more information on the WTT Pro League, visit www.WTT.com.
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.