SANTA MONICA, October 18, 2005 —
2006 Men’s ATP Pro Tennis Tournament to Mark City’s First in Two Decades
Network Plans 10-Day Festival of Tennis Event; Annual Destination to Include
Tennis and Entertainment-Related Activities
The Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the healthy, active lifestyle that surrounds it, will move its Scottsdale, Ariz., ATP tour event to Las Vegas in 2006, marking the return of top-level professional tennis to the region after a two-decade absence. The announcement was made today by Steve Bellamy, president and founder, The Tennis Channel; Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, The Tennis Channel; Oscar B. Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas; Larry Brown, Las Vegas City Councilman; and Chris Clouser, CEO, ATP Properties, and president, ATP Inc.
The 2006 Tennis Channel Open will take place at the newly christened Darling Memorial Tennis Center, which features a 40-acre complex with 23 courts, among them a 2,400-seat stadium court that will expand via bleachers to a 3,000-3,500 capacity during the event. The grounds also include space for two additional, smaller stadium courts, which are currently being planned. The tournament is scheduled for the week of Feb. 27, with qualifying matches and other events set for the days leading up to the competition.
“The vision is to create a sort of ‘tennispalooza,’ an annual tennis destination with tournament action and other tennis-related entertainment activities, and televise the heck out of it,” said Bellamy. “Las Vegas is providing resources and efforts toward this end, and after an exhaustive selection process we’ve decided that the city presents the best opportunity to build something spectacular that people are going to travel to experience each year.”
The Tennis Channel, which purchased the tournament from IMG in February, intends to expand the men’s competition into a multifaceted gathering unique to the tennis and sports-venue calendars. Plans currently entail an annual, 10-day event with men’s, women’s and juniors tournaments, surrounded by ancillary events that center on tennis and the lifestyle of its enthusiasts. This in turn would be supported by a number of entertainment offshoots, including other sports events.
“The combination of professional tournament tennis; The Tennis Channel’s 24/7, 365 media brand; and the excitement of Las Vegas creates endless opportunities for redefining the way
the sport is experienced,” added Solomon. “This decision is an integral part of our vision to synergize various tennis, lifestyle and entertainment activities across numerous outlets, be they television, Web, broadband, video on demand (VOD) or an actual top tour event, like the Tennis Channel Open.”
Las Vegas has not hosted a top-level tennis tournament since the Alan King Tennis Classic in 1985. The region does have significant tennis history, however. In 1995 the U.S. Davis Cup team competed against Sweden at Caesars Palace, and featured city native and resident Andre Agassi. The city has also played host to U.S. women’s Fed Cup competitions.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome the Tennis Channel Open to the best city in the world,” said Mayor Goodman. “Las Vegas is a place like no other, and together with The Tennis Channel we’re going to create a new standard for sports and entertainment destination events.
Councilman Brown added, “This is a great opportunity for the people in this community and fans from around the world to witness the phenomenal talent of professional tennis players.”
“We are extremely excited that ATP tennis is coming to the entertainment capital of the world – Las Vegas,” added Clouser. “The Tennis Channel has done incredible things for tennis, and given viewers ways to consume this sport like never before.”
Founded in 1986, the ATP tournament had been held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel near Phoenix, and has played host to most of the game’s greatest stars, including Agassi, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Stan Smith, Patrick Rafter, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick.
The network, which had held programming rights for three years prior to its acquisition of the event, telecast more than 40 hours of Tennis Channel Open competition in 2005 – including singles and doubles quarterfinals, semifinals and finals – and has plans for extensive on-court and off-court coverage in 2006.
The Tennis Channel (www.thetennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the healthy, active lifestyle that surrounds it. As the most concentrated single-sport network on television, the brand combines comprehensive sports coverage with health, fitness, pop culture, lifestyle and travel programming. Fifty-two week tournament telecast rights include the US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup, offering compelling coverage of the game’s most dramatic rivalries and energetic personalities.
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