New Deal Gives Tennis Channel Exclusive Broadcast Rights to 21 ATP Tour Stops


Tennis Channel has agreed to multi-year extensions with the ATP World Tour (tennis’ governing body) and ATP Media (tour’s broadcast arm), ensuring the network of exclusive broadcast rights to 21 ATP Tour stops (Masters 1000 & 500 events) and the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals (non-exclusive). Matches will air on the linear cable network and via authenticated digital stream on Tennis Channels’ affiliated OTT service, Tennis Channel Plus (for the 1st time); combined they’ll carry every round of all but a handful of men’s tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami & Nitto ATP Finals). Under the terms of the new deal, Tennis Channel will be granted expanded video-on-demand rights and increased network access to classic matches. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Howie Long-Short: Tennis Channel is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc (SBGI). Sinclair is awaiting the Department of Justice’s approval on its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media (and their 42 television stations). Should the deal be approved (it likely will be, though SBGI may be forced to sell a few stations to comply with FCC rules) SBGI would own channels in 233 networks in over 100 markets (in an unprecedented 72% of the country). Back on November 1st, the company reported Q3 net income fell 39.7% (to $30.6 million); hurricanes Harvey and Irma, a loss of certain technical school advertisers and one-time acquisition related charges (see: Bonten Media) blamed for the negative differential. The company is expected to report Q4 ’17 and full-year ’17 earnings on February 28.

Fan Marino: Fans in NYC will get to see Serena Williams live as she plans to participate in March’s Tie Break Tens tournament, the first of its kind in the U.S. The short-form one-day knockout tournament (each match is a super tie-break to 10 points) will be held at Madison Square Garden. 8 competitors will participate, including Serena’s older sister Venus Williams.

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Stadium Partners with Facebook, 47 College Basketball Games Will Air Exclusively on Watch

Facebook continues to add live sports programming to its Watch platform, announcing a partnership with Stadium that will enable the social network to exclusively live stream 47 college basketball games this season. Stadium, a multi-platform sports network, will tailor the stream to the Facebook audience; communicating with fans in real-time and implementing social elements to the broadcast. The companies have aired 13 football games together this fall; generating over 10 million views. FB is paying Stadium for the rights to air the games, though terms of the deal have not been released. There is no cost for fans to stream the games.

Howie Long-Short: Stadium was created from a merger of Campus Insiders (live games), Time Inc.’s (TIME) 120 Sports (studio operations) and the Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI)-owned American Sports Network (distribution). SBGI reported a 3.3% YOY drop in Q3 earnings, but it hasn’t been all bad news for the company of late. The FCC just voted to relax rules limiting broadcast and print media ownership in a single market. That decision, combined with Bruce Karsh’s (Tribune Media Chairman) recent resignation, would seem to indicate that the company’s purchase of TRCO is likely to be approved by regulators. SBGI expects the sale to close by early ’18.

Fan Marino: The 47-game slate includes some compelling teams, 11 of which made the 2017 NCAA Tournament; Dayton, Saint Mary’s, Middle Tennessee State, Nevada, Florida Gulf Coast, Wake Forest, Rhode Island, U.C. Davis, VCU, Minnesota and New Mexico State. #14 Minnesota, #21 St. Mary’s and R.I. are the best of the bunch. It also includes three first-round Mountain West tournament games and two quarterfinal Conference USA matchups. You can find out if your team is on the schedule, here.

Facebook will stream exclusively 47 college basketball games this season

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