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.

looking forward: barclays atp world tour finals 2013 pre-sale

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Pre-sale information
Never too early: The 2013 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be contested November 4-11, 2013, will have tickets available during pre-release (before they go on sale to the general public). A code will be sent out on March 7 to everyone who registers with the tournament.

The passcode will be e-mailed on March 7 that can be used to get a discount (25%) for certain ticket packages.

and then there were four (spots)

Sweden’s Robin Soderling booked the fifth spot in the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. After his run to the quarters at this week’s If Stockholm Open, Soderling’s guaranteed his second trip to the finals (he made the semis last year). Rafa, Roger, Nole, and Andy Murray have already qualified for the year-end tournament.

His title win in Rotterdam, defending an appearance in the finals of the French, plus reaching the quarters at Wimbledon and the US Open contributed to this achievement. And as part of his qualification, the ATP’s showcasing his self-portrait, to be displayed (and then auctioned off for charity) alongside the pieces made by the other seven players. Much like Robin, his art is nothing to write home about. (Browse: Portraits by Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, and Murray.)

Tall task: “There are only eight players and you play against the world’s best so every match you play could be like a Grand Slam final,” Soderling shared with the ATP. “I will have to be ready from the first match.”

Doubles: Meanwhile, the team of Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes have also qualified for the Tour Finals’ doubles event for the third time. The draw will also feature the Bryan Brothers, Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic, and Jurgen Melzer/Philipp Petzschner as contenders.

(images courtesy of ATP)

murray’s trademark… hair

It looks like we’re not the only one obsessing over Andy Murray‘s hair (let us count the ways): in celebration of the Scot gaining a spot in the last men’s event of the year — the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals — the tour created a stencil that Andy used for his artball self-portrait. Thankfully, they used a photo of him well-groomed. (See: Stencils for Roger, Rafa, and the one for Nole.)

Muzz on creating the art: “I can’t say I’ve ever created a self-portrait quite like this before — it was good fun but I don’t think I’ll be giving up my day job just quite yet! I’m looking forward to seeing it in the gallery, hopefully it can raise some money for charity!”

…on home court advantage: “If I play well I’ve got a chance of beating any of the guys. I’m excited to be playing in front of my home crowd; the atmosphere was great last year. I could be playing against Federer or Nadal in my first match in the Finals so I’m going to have to be on top of my game from the very start.” (The tourney’s held at the O2.)

For your consumption: The canvases from all eight singles finalists will be displayed at the La Galleria Pall Mall in London November 8-18, 2010. After that, they’ll be sold through an online charity auction that ends on November 28, 2010.

More: A few other pics of Andy making his art after the cut…

only the nole

Yep, that’s a smiley face finger-painted onto the artball sportrait done by Novak Djokovic in celebration of his qualification into the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, where he’ll join the other top seven guys on the tour vying for around $3.5 million in prize money.

Nole banked enough points over the weekend (his semifinal win over John Isner at the China Open in Beijing) to put him in company with qualifiers Roger and Rafa. (Flashback: See the top duo’s art pieces.) At this week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters, Andy Murray also qualified after beating Jeremy Chardy in the round of 16. This leaves four more spots in contention.

Lip service: “I was really happy to hear the news. It’s four consecutive years for me to get to the Finals, so this achievement means a lot. Of course I will do my best to get even further than I did last year to try to pass the group stage, but there’s still a way to go. It was incredible how many people came out and watched us last year. I really look forward to playing in front of that crowd in The O2 again.”

Bonus round: Catch video from Nole’s artball session here.

(images and Djokovic quote courtesy of ATP)

kolya the kokopelli

Tucked away in one of those pics of Roger and Rafa‘s creating paintball art — designed to fete the upcoming ATP year-end tournament in London — was this one of Nikolay Davydenko‘s piece. And since the artwork’s stencils were based on each player’s signature move, we couldn’t help but wonder: does Kolya really look like a lanky kokopelli when he serves? Yikes. Oh well, it doesn’t matter; a man who serves us tequila can do no wrong.

(image via ATP)

the ATP’s newest art project

As if they haven’t hustled enough to get to London — aka the site of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held Nov. 21-28, 2010 — each of the eight players who qualify is being asked to create a self-portrait to celebrate their achievement.

The set-up: the guys, during the Masters Series stop in Cincinnati, hit paint-covered tennis balls against stenciled canvases showing one of the player’s signature moves. The pieces will be exhibited in Central London in early November; it’ll move to The O2 for the duration of the actual event. And after, it’ll be auctioned off for charity.

We can’t wait to see what signature moves they’ve stenciled for Muzz, Nole (tearing off his shirt?), and Andy Roddick (adjusting his crotch?). Six more spots are up for grabs.

Rafa Nadal, who owns a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, said this about creating his painting:

“Making the artwork was fun and something I’ve never done before. It’s a great way to celebrate the World Tour Finals coming back to London. It was a little bit of a challenge to put the balls on the silhouette! Of course this is the least we can do for charity and for those who need it the most. It’s very important that people in our position help those who really need help. I’d like to thank everyone for the support they give us.”

He qualified for the year-ending tournament back in May 23, 2010. Jesus.

And Roger Federer said this:

“It was great fun being invited to create my self portrait and I’m excited to see how the finished piece looks. Raising money for charity is always a great thing so already I would like to thank people who will buy these pictures and it’s going to be for a good cause. I’m happy I can help a bit.”

Federer qualified in August 7, 2010. This will be the ninth time he’s participated in the year-end event.

Flashback: Of course, this isn’t the first time the boys have been asked to help out with some year-end art. Remember those terracotta statues created by Laury Dizengremel for the Shanghai Masters? And this isn’t the first time the pros have dabbled in ball-art either. Martina Navratilova‘s churned out a few pieces herself.

More info: Check out the details (including tickets) for the Year-End finals here and specifically about the Art of Tennis here.

More pics: And more images of Nadal and Roger smackin’ the painted balls after the cut…

stella mccartney to design the uk’s 2012 olympic kit

Stella McCartney continues to flex her athletic apparel muscle by signing on as creative director of adidas‘s United Kingdom 2012 Olympics and Paralympics kits.

While McCartney’s expertise now includes golf, cycling, tennis, and dance, she’ll need to step it up in order to incorporate all the sports (which’ll require different fabrics and silhouettes). “So there are challenges,” she told Vogue. “I have a million challenges. I have to make it look good on TV, I have to make it feel good for the athletes, I have to make it work — technically it has to do its job. But I think they’re all good challenges — I like a challenge.”

Fans, fear not: Us non-athletes will also get a taste of Stella’s take on this worldwide event; a range for the masses will drop in the fall.

TSF’d been really curious to know how McCartney would design for the menz (she’s done it for boys) and this is the closest we’ll get. We can’t wait to see swimmer Mark Foster (dapper in Beijing) and Andy Murray decked out in Stella!

And sadly, this probably won’t mean that Andy’ll get her to design his on-court wear; at least for tennis, the players’ contractual obligations to their clothing sponsors supercede whatever they’ll get from their home team’s olympic committee.

Fall 2010 RTW: On another note, we weren’t too keen on McCartney’s last showing in Paris for the fall RTW collection. See her Fall/Winter 2010 RTW show here.

(via vogue.co.uk; image grab via style.com)

grigor dimitrov: clothed, so no cigar

Not until he has to: Russian Grigor Dimitrov (clothed, le sigh) lost to third seed Gilles Simon in the AEGON Championships Round of 16 in two tiebreak sets.

For this Wimbledon stretch, adidas has its Competition collection in red, blue, and white. I guess Grigor will stay as far away from the all-white rule until he absolutely has to follow it!

Buy: Check out the goods here.

(image via Getty Images)

the ultimate in player consideration

ballgirls-fila-queens09a

Floating heads: The lines/ballfolks at this week’s AEGON Championships (aka the Queen’s Club tourney in London) are decked out in Fila blue, matching the backdrop and the furniture of this Wimbledon warmup.

Goings on: Top seed Andy Murray is through to the round of 16 after beating Andreas Seppi in the second round. (Up next is Gigi Lopez.) Meanwhile, a record is on the line with the next match between Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt; both have won this event four times in the last nine years — Hewitt in 2000-2002 and 2006; Roddick in 2003-2005 and 2007. Whoever wins that battle should end up in the finals and with a fifth Queen’s Club title.

And yes, we are saying that Murray will be in the final. (Maybe JC Ferrero?)

Browse: Tourney website here.

(image courtesy of Fila)