Tennis Channel has unveiled its coverage plans for the 2010 U.S. Open Championship, set to begin August 30. Among the changes: the network is adding two-time US Open singles winner Tracy Austin to its lineup of commentators. Austin had been making regular appearances on the channel through its “Tennic Channel Academy” series. She will be appearing as an afternoon and late-match analyst. Austin joins the channel’s current commentator lineup, which includes Bill Macatee, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova (pictured) and Lindsay Davenport.
The network is also building “Tennis Channel Plaza” which will serve as the network’s programming hub, and will be located just outside of Arther Ashe stadium. Tennis Channel talent will conduct interviews and host segments from the plaza, withy ticket holders able to watch in person.
The network’s full TV schedule, as well as broadband and digital coverage, is after the jump.
SECOND YEAR OF US OPEN ON TENNIS CHANNEL
STARTS WITH FIRST DAY OF PLAY MONDAY, AUGUST 30
Network’s On-Air Roster of Champions Again Features Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport, and Adds Hall of Famer Tracy Austin
Tennis Channel will Televise 73 Hours of Live Match Play at World’s Largest Tennis Tournament, with Two Weeks of “Grounds Pass” Coverage that Includes
US Open Tonight, Breakfast at the Open and More than 230 Hours Overall
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23, 2010 – Tennis Channel’s second year of US Open coverage will provide viewers with 73 hours of live matches as the tennis world descends upon New York, and will also introduce a new team member who knows a thing (or two) about on-court glory in the Big Apple. This year two-time US Open singles titlist Tracy Austin joins the network’s returning on-air roster of tennis champions, with a lineup that includes lead analysts Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova and US Open Tonight / Breakfast at the Open host Lindsay Davenport. In all the network will offer 234 hours of US Open telecasts, with nearly 24-hour, “Grounds Pass” level of coverage during the two-week competition.
When live matches are not taking place in Flushing Meadow, Tennis Channel’s signature US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open will recap all the excitement of that day’s play, and lead into the following morning’s contests. Again hosted by 1998 US Open champion Lindsay Davenport and Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight fame, the news, interview and highlight shows will air alongside encore matches throughout the night during the tournament, giving viewers a close to 24-hour daily US Open experience.
Beginning with its opening-match coverage on Arthur Ashe Stadium or Louis Armstrong Stadium the first day of play Monday, Aug. 30, Tennis Channel’s typical US Open schedule features live matches daily from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (all times ET). US Open Tonight immediately follows the conclusion of the final US Open match of the evening, and airs with encore matches until Breakfast at the Open premieres at 6 a.m. and runs next to encore matches until the start of that day’s play at 11 a.m. During Labor Day weekend Tennis Channel’s live-match window moves to prime time, from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. As with the other three Grand Slams, Tennis Channel will combine with ESPN2 to bring fans virtually round-the-clock coverage during the US Open, each network utilizing its own commentators.
Though new to the network’s Grand Slam team, Austin has been a Tennis Channel regular via Tennis Channel Academy, the coaches-and-clinics series she has hosted since 2008. She has also done commentary and analysis work for the channel’s coverage of top events like the women’s year-end championships. During the US Open she will serve as Tennis Channel’s afternoon and late-match analyst, appear in short features and interact with fans on the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center grounds.
A tennis prodigy, Austin is best known for dethroning four-time US Open champion Chris Evert in 1979 at the mere age of 16, making her the youngest US Open champion in history. She was the No. 1 women’s singles player in 1980 and boasts an impressive collection of 30 singles titles, including two US Open championships along with a Wimbledon mixed doubles title. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992.
“Tennis Channel tries to put as much of the US Open on fans’ television screens as is humanly possible, and I’m thrilled to join them this year,” said Austin. “This is an exciting time of the tennis season and this tournament has such special memories for me.”
Tennis icons Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova are back as Tennis Channel’s lead US Open analysts, again putting the all-time men’s and women’s singles titlists in the same booth. They will be joined once more by veteran sportscaster Bill Macatee, a mainstay of the network’s Grand Slam coverage since its first effort in Paris in 2007. Lead commentators Ted Robinson and Ian Eagle are also back on Tennis Channel’s on-air roster, as are former players Leif Shiras, Katrina Adams, Jimmy Arias, Justin Gimelstob and Corina Morariu. Year-round Court Report anchor Cari Champion will also be on the tournament grounds for special news and feature segments. US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open are hosted by Davenport and Frazier from Tennis Channel’s Los Angeles studio, with nightly Court Report segments from reporters Arlene Santana and Angela Sun.
After bringing its “Grounds Pass” Grand Slam coverage approach to the US Open last year for the first time, Tennis Channel is doing even more to give audiences the feel of spending a late-summer afternoon at the tournament. New in 2010 is the “Tennis Channel Plaza,” a fixed interview and fan-interaction site centered just outside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Throughout each day’s coverage Gimelstob, Champion and others will conduct interviews while surrounded by tournament ticket holders, routinely carrying on public address conversations with the crowd in the interim. The network’s main set has been moved from the top of Louis Armstrong Stadium and brought outside to the second level of Arthur Ashe Stadium, in full view of the public. Usually featuring Robinson and Eagle, this set will be the center point of Tennis Channel’s coverage, from here taking viewers to center court with Macatee, Connors and Navratilova; off to the outer grounds with roving reporters; and on-air analysts or anywhere between.
Broadband and Digital Coverage
What the network cannot squeeze into viewers’ television sets over the Flushing Meadow fortnight is likely to be found on Tennis Channel’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com. Beyond real-time scoring, schedules, draws and order of play, the site will include on-court video highlights, behind-the-scenes features, interviews and Court Report news segments. Exclusive US Open photo gallery scenes capture the raucous energy of the event, while reporter Steve Flink and humorist James LaRosa have become Tennis Channel digital favorites who will again offer their online opinions as the competition unfolds. At the same time, Web visitors can sign up for network sweepstakes and play its “Racquet Bracket” prediction game. Tennis Channel’s YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel) pages offer additional opportunities for fans to stay digitally engaged.
Tennis Channel’s Live 2010 US Open Match Schedule
Date Time (ET) Event
Monday, Aug. 30 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round Action
Tuesday, Aug. 31 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round Action
Wednesday, Sept. 1 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round, Second-Round Action
Thursday, Sept. 2 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Second-Round Action
Friday, Sept. 3 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Second-Round, Third-Round Action
Saturday, Sept. 4 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Third-Round Action
Sunday, Sept. 5 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Third-Round, Round-of-16 Action
Tuesday, Sept. 7 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Round-of-16 Action, Doubles
Wednesday, Sept. 8 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Doubles Quarterfinals, Mixed Semifinals
Thursday, Sept. 9 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Doubles, Juniors, Wheelchair
Tennis Channel’s US Open Tonight, Breakfast at the Open Schedule
US Open Tonight runs evenings and mornings Monday, Aug. 30-Sunday, Sept. 12, while Breakfast at the Open will air Monday, Aug. 30-Friday, Sept. 10. Both are interspersed with same-day, encore matches. This year US Open Tonight will start at the conclusion of play each evening which, especially the first week, could mean well into the early morning hours. Because of the uncertain start time for US Open Tonight, Tennis Channel’s 11 p.m.-3 a.m. schedule will vary in terms of the number of times US Open Tonight airs, as will the length of the encore match. The schedule is generally as follows (all times ET):
11 p.m.-3 a.m. – US Open Tonight / Encore Match
3 a.m.-4 a.m. – US Open Tonight
4 a.m.-6 a.m. – Encore Match
6 a.m.-7 a.m. – Breakfast at the Open
7 a.m.-10 a.m. – Encore Match
10 a.m.-11 a.m. – Breakfast at the Open
On Friday, Sept. 10, Tennis Channel will air a four-hour special, US Open Tonight: Best of the US Open, from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Three consecutive encore editions of this will run through 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 11. From 12 a.m.-12 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, the network will air four US Open encore matches. During the week of Sunday, Sept. 12, Tennis Channel will run encore replays of the men’s and women’s singles and doubles finals and mixed doubles final, TBD.