LOS ANGELES, May 4, 2004 —
The Tennis Channel, a 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, has reached an exclusive telecast rights deal for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men's and women's tennis singles and doubles championships. The announcement was made at the NCTA 2004 National Show today by Bruce Rider, executive vice president, programming and marketing, The Tennis Channel.
The Tennis Channel will be the exclusive television home for 2004 Division I championship singles and doubles tennis, with complete coverage of both the men's and women's final matches - about eight hours of tennis. The events will be telecast on the network in early June.
"This is a great opportunity for us to expand the scope of our tennis coverage, and we think it's really important for us to highlight NCAA tennis," said Rider. "We look at this agreement as a continuation of our overall mission to grow and promote this great game, and offering the best singles and doubles matches in college tennis certainly contributes to that end."
The deal represents the network's initial foray into NCAA Division I championship tennis. The Tennis Channel previously covered the 2003 Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Star team in Tokyo.
"The NCAA is excited about the additional exposure that The Tennis Channel is providing to these two championships," said Greg Weitekamp, associate director of broadcasting, NCAA. "This gives the opportunity for up to 12 student-athletes to appear on a cable television platform enhancing their championship experience."
This year marks the NCAA's 120th Division I Men's Tennis Championships. The 2004 championship finals take place at the University of Tulsa's Michael D. Case Tennis Center, Tulsa, Okla., May 22-31. Each year the men's championships crown college tennis' top team, singles player and doubles tandem. Last year the University of Illinois rallied to win the team title with a thrilling, 4-3 victory over Vanderbilt University. Additionally, Illinois' Amer Delic won the 2003 singles championship, while teammates Rajeev Ram and Brian Wilson captured the doubles crown.
The NCAA's 23rd Division I Women's Tennis Championships will be held in Athens, Ga., at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Matches are set for May 20-29. In 2003 the University of Florida upset top seed and two-time defending champion Stanford University 4-3 to win the team crown, though Stanford's Amber Liu did walk away with last year's singles championship. The University of California's Christina Fusano and Raquel Kops-Jones brought home the 2003 women's tennis double title.
"As with so many other college sports activities, these athletes bring an added measure of excitement and pride to the competition as they represent their teams and schools," said The Tennis Channel's Jene Elzie, vice president, programming, who brokered the deal. "I'm looking forward to watching both the men's and women's championship matches this year."
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.