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THE TENNIS CHANNEL PRESENTS “AUSSIE MANIA,” A FULL MONTH OF G’DAYS DURING THE 2006 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

LOS ANGELES, January 3, 2006

January Activity Includes Aussie-Themed Programming,
Tournaments, Sweepstakes and Promotions


The Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the healthy, active lifestyle that surrounds it, will celebrate the start of the 2006 tennis season in January by presenting “Aussie Mania.” The full slate of promotions and programming honors the rich history of Australian tennis during the month when the sport is focused on the Australian Open, one of the four major tournaments of the year.

The promotional and programming platform will be the first of many such campaigns by The Tennis Channel during 2006, with themes created around other Grand Slam competitions, different tennis surface schedules, regional competition, holidays and other special events.

“The promotion and programming themes we’re introducing this year speak to the tennis lifestyle of our audience, and give our viewers the chance to become even more engaged,” said Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, The Tennis Channel. “Each element supports the others: tournament coverage, original series, specials, online polls, trivia, sweepstakes opportunities, tennis destinations, and even tie-ins with cable affiliates and sponsorship partners. All aspects of each theme work together to further enhance the tennis experience of our audience.”

“Aussie Mania” On-Air/Online Promotion

The Tennis Channel pays homage as the pro tennis tour heads Down Under in January, re-branding its air to reflect Australian sights and sounds that are recognizable around the world. Interstitials, wraps, bumpers, voice-overs and an entire series of Australian-themed promos will transform the channel throughout the month. These pieces feature fun facts and trivia on great Aussie tennis players, famous movie stars, glamorous vacation destinations, funky foods and exotic animals.

Much of the television spots drive viewers to the network’s Web site, www.thetennischannel.com, where an online “Aussie Mania” component bridges the gap between on-air and online activities. In addition to rounding out the television’s trivia and fun facts, the Internet aspect offers in-depth information on Australian travel, food, wine and other entertainment activities. There is also an online poll that awards “Aussie Mania” prizes to the first 100 respondents.

To support the television and Internet activities, the network has teamed up with sponsors Saab and Grand Slam Tour Getaways for a six-week sweepstakes: the “Ultimate Australian Vacation.” One lucky consumer will win the prize, which includes a round trip to the 2007 Australian Open, complete with center court seats, luxury accommodations and a tour of host-city Melbourne.

The Tennis Channel’s affiliate sales team has also engaged several cable systems to expand the scope of the “Aussie Mania” promotion. In exchange for providing promotional cross-channel spots, cable affiliates receive exclusive “Aussie Mania” premium items and the entry into an affiliates-only pool of “Ultimate Australian Vacation” contestants. Affiliates also have the opportunity to bring local advertisers into the promotion. The Tennis Channel provides these sponsors with on-site promotional materials at their retail locations (such as the enclosed boomerang). To date, 12 cable systems with more than two million subscribers have signed up to participate.

“Aussie Mania” Programming

The Tennis Channel will cover five Australian tournaments in January and showcase a special “Aussie Mania” block of programming each Wednesday night from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. ET.

Representing the first of more than 2,500 hours of tournament coverage planned for 2006, five Australian competitions are part of January’s “Aussie Mania”: the Hyundai Hopman Cup in Perth, Jan. 2-6 (men’s and women’s, mixed doubles); Mondial Women’s Hardcourts in the Gold Coast, Jan. 6; Next Generation Hardcourts in Adelaide, Jan. 6-7 (men’s); Medibank International in Sydney, Jan. 11-13 (women’s); and the Kooyong Classic in Kooyong, Jan. 27-29 (men’s).

Beyond tournaments, the network’s Wednesday night blocks of “Aussie Mania” programming include original series episodes and specials dedicated to Australia, its tennis stars and the nation’s rich contribution to the sport’s legacy. The network’s signature interview series, Center Court with Chris Myers, will offer special “Aussie Mania” presentations of three episodes that feature Aussie tennis stars during the month: John Newcombe (Jan. 4 and Jan. 25), Mark Woodforde (Jan. 11) and Margaret Court-Smith (Jan. 18). Meanwhile No Strings will spend a day in the life of Aussie doubles great Todd Woodbridge (Jan. 11 and Jan. 25) to get an insider’s look at his life and loves off the court.

Open Access, the series that takes viewers behind the scenes at top-level tennis tournaments, will present a special edition with Lindsay Davenport in Australia (Jan. 4) and then, at the end of the month, will show highlights of the 2006 Australian Open with Open Access: Down Under (Jan. 30).

“Aussie Mania” specials include three of The Tennis Channel’s Net Film documentaries. The Fifth Set follows Australia’s storied Davis Cup tradition (Jan. 4 and Jan. 25) while the nation, as the second-most cup-winning country in history, also figures prominently in The Davis Cup Story (Jan. 11). The same can be said for Tennis Greats 1920-1960s (Jan. 18), which profiles a number of legendary Australian stars from that era, among them Rod Laver, Margaret Court-Smith and Ken Rosewall.

The Tennis Channel (www.thetennischannel.com) is the 24-hour multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the 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 Sony Ericsson 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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For Further information:
Eric Abner , Tennis Channel, 310-314-9445 or eabner@tennischannel.com