new espn/atp agreement expands coverage for iw, miami, and world tour finals

PRESS RELEASE

ESPN expands of ATP coverage for Indian Wells, Miami, and ATP World Tour Finals

TV Schedule for Miami Now includes Both Finals; ESPN3 to Deliver More Action from Every ATP World Tour Masters 1000 & 500 Event

ESPN and the ATP World Tour have finalized a long-term agreement that will expand coverage of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.; Sony Open Tennis in Miami; and the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals currently played in London. More than 44 hours will be aired, including, for the first time, both the women’s and men’s championships from the South Florida event. Also, more live action from every ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and 500 tournament will be on ESPN3 – totaling up to 1,200 hours annually.

“ESPN is thrilled to expand coverage of three of the biggest events outside the Major Championships – Indian Wells, Miami and the ATP World Tour season finale,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN senior director, programming & acquisitions who oversees both ESPN3 and ESPN’s tennis business. “ESPN3 presents more live tennis action than any other U.S. outlet year-round, with multiple simultaneous matches available on broadband and via WatchESPN no matter where you are.”

Mark Young, CEO ATP Americas and Chief Media Officer, said, “We’re delighted to sign this extended agreement with ESPN, paving the way for even greater TV coverage and viewership in the US of our biggest events. ESPN is a terrific broadcast partner for the ATP and, with more fans tuning into ATP World Tour events than ever before, it’s a very exciting time to be a part of the Tour.”

ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually via WatchESPN. It is available to 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.

ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended in a 12-year agreement starting in 2012. Exclusivity for the US Open in an 11-year agreement begins in 2015.

About the BNP Paribas Open
The BNP Paribas Open is the largest ATP World Tour and WTA combined two-week event in the world, offers more than $12,000,000 in prize money, and is the only event to provide the Hawkeye line challenge system on all match courts. In 2013, more than 380,000 people attended the event. Visit www.bnpparibasopen.com for more information, including tickets and hotel vacation packages Indian Wells Tennis Garden Box Office, 800-999-1585 or 760-200-8000, 78-200 Miles Avenue, Indian Wells, CA, 92210.

About Sony Open Tennis
The 2014 Sony Open will be played March 17-30 at the Crandon Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Sony Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. The event’s international fan base, exotic location, and celebrity appeal give it an energy and excitement unlike any other event on tour. In 2013 Andy Murray defeated David Ferrer for his second Sony Open title, while Serena Williams knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her record sixth title in Miami. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at www.SonyOpenTennis.com.

About the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is the year-end climax to the men’s professional tennis season, featuring only the world’s best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams as they battle it out for the last title of the season. Players compete for Emirates ATP Rankings points throughout the season in a bid to earn one of the eight coveted berths and a chance to win the $1.92m prize money on offer for the winner. Played using a round-robin format, each player plays three matches as they compete for a berth in the knockout semi-finals and beyond. The prestigious tournament has been contested in major cities around the world with a rich history dating back to the birth of The Masters in 1970 in Tokyo. Since 2000 the event has taken place in cities such as Lisbon, Sydney, and Shanghai. In 2009 the tournament was moved to London, where it will be played through 2015.

2013 indian wells player field announced

The BNP Paribas Open — the first major North American stop on the ATP and WTA calendars, will be held March 4-17, 2013 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. It will feature a field highlighted by nine former BNP Paribas Open champions and 13 Grand Slam champions.

Men’s commitments: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (winner: 2008, 2011), defending champion and World No. 2 Roger Federer (winner: 2004-2006, 2012), Andy MurrayDavid FerrerRafael Nadal (winner: 2007, 2009)David FerrerTomas BerdychJuan Martin del PotroJo-Wilfried TsongaJanko Tipsarevic, and Richard Gasquet.

Women’s commitments: Victoria Azarenka (winner: 2012), Maria Sharapova (2006), Agnieszka RadwanskaAngelique KerberLi NaSara ErraniPetra KvitovaSam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki (2011), Jelena Jankovic (2010), Ana Ivanovic (2008), Daniela Hantuchova (2002, 2007), Francesca Schiavone, and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Other slots: The qualifying tournament will be held March 4-6, 2013. Wildcards will also be announced in the coming weeks.

Tournament info: Indian Wells Tennis Garden Box Office (800-999-1585) or www.bnpparibasopen.com.

stefan koubek retires

One less for Tattoo Watch to keep tabs on now that pseudo-tramp-stamped Austrian Stefan Koubek has announced his retirement.

The 34-year-old ATPer, ranked 261st, plans to finish his pro career off with an exhibition match on July 30. “I wanted to play Roland Garros and Wimbledon one more time but I won’t make it,” he told the press. “Once you’ve decided to quit, you lose your motivation.”

More: Here are pics we took of Koubek back in March. Yes, you saw that correctly: it’s a chinese character superimposed over a tribal pattern. He has his cake and eats it, too!

(photos by TSF)

shirtless: juan monaco

Juan Monaco‘s playing at this week’s combined Mutua Madrid Open, winning his first-rounder against Andrey Golubev 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. He’ll need to step it up if he wants to upset ninth seed Gael Monfils in the next round. They both share the same quarter as Andy Murray (though we think it’s Tomas Berdych‘s to lose). Browse: Mutua Madrid Open Draws.

Taking pic(o)s: Some shots we took of Monaco earlier this year at Indian Wells.

(images by TSF)

zvonareva's bunnies

Sequined bunnies showed up for Vera Zvonareva‘s presser on the eve of the 2011 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Buy: A similar Bad Bunny Sweatshirt, $59.99, from French Connection.

Fed Cup: Vera is on the Russian Fed Cup team that faces Italy in this weekend’s semi, to be played in Moscow. Others on the Russian squad: Kuznetsova, Pavlyuchenkova, and Makarova. On the Italian side, they’ll be without Fed Cup regulars Schiavone and Pennetta. Schiavone opted out in order to focus on defending her Roland Garros title; Pennetta’s nursing a shoulder injury. The roster’s made up of Vinci, Errani, Brianti, and Camerin. The Russians should take this, no prob. What do you think?

Read up: All the tie details are here.

(image via Getty Images)

does melanie oudin still believe?

One of the highlights of our visit to the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells? Seeing this purple dress from Wilson hanging on a mannequin. The Chicago-based brand’s continued to up their game, starting with that lovely blank/pink motif at the 2010 US Open, and moving to brighter colors (white, teal, lavender) to work with the sunny backdrops of Spring ’11 tourneys. (BTW, we heard someone mention that Busted Racquet gave her a hard time about this dress in Melbourne. Is this true?)

And what of the Oudin slogans (“Believe” in 2009 and “Courage” in 2010) — will Melanie and Wilson drum one up in time for this year’s U.S. Open? “We will try to keep it going for sure,” said Melanie’s agent, Sam Duvall. They’re looking for the right time to bring it back, he added. I say that time is now, because missy needs a boost: she’s 5-7 so far this year. On the flip side, that’s enough to keep her ranking of 75th, making making her the fourth-best American on the tour(!). Perhaps the slogan should come back for all of U.S. women’s tennis?

Your thoughts: Will Melanie Oudin will stay ahead of Americans Coco Vandeweghe? Varvara Lepchenko? Christina McHale? Vania King? What do you think? Tell us!

Buy: La Divine Dress, in white or lavender, $72; La Divine Tank, in white or pool (teal), $48; the rest of Wilson’s women’s gear here.

(images via Getty Images)

oh, shahar!

It’s been a while since we’ve put up a fashion mishit — nay, a fashion shank — on TSF, but this one caught our eye. Too bad, because we were in the middle of writing a post praising Shahar Peer‘s current purple Reebok dress, and this had to pop up: a pic from last month’s BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party. That sock tan! And are those loafers?

TSF Archives: Previous mishits on and off the court — including Jankovic‘s pink bow, Spadea‘s leopard print backpack, and a lot of Mattek.

On the tour: Shahar’s done decently this year, ranked just outside the top 10 and with two quarterfinal appearances (Dubai, Indian Wells). She lost in her opening round match at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open to Anabel Medina Garrigues. As you may know, AMG gave Sharapova trouble in Masha’s opening match at Indian Wells.

(image via Getty Images)

how we survived in tursunov's absence

TSF was heartbroken to find out that Dmitry Tursunov wasn’t going to play at Indian Wells and Miami this year. Tournaments just aren’t the same without his pastiness hanging out in the practice courts (exhibits A and B). So as we felt the withdrawal kick in during our first days in the desert, this man saved the day.

Ridic.

Anyway, Igor Andreev made it as far as the second round at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, where he lost to John Isner 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (2). But that’s okay, Igor: winning isn’t why we keep you on our radar.

The tennis: Roger and Rafa play their quarterfinal matches today (vs. Simon and Berdych, respectively). The winner in that top half of the draw will play the winner of the Fish/Djokovic semi. We expect Nole to take this whole thing. Who’s your pick for the winner? (Browse: SEO Draws)

And in case you’re interested in seeing Igor clothed, some pics of his current Sergio Tacchini kit below.

(practice image by TSF; match images via Getty Images)