Sinclair Networks-owned Tennis Channel has launched an international subscription streaming service, the first-stage roll out for what is intended to become a global tennis-media destination.
Initially launching in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with plans for other worldwide markets, the over-the-top (OTT) platform will offer content on the new Tennis Channel International app, with the service available in all three countries on www.tennischannel.com.
The product debuts ahead of the Tennis Point Exhibition Series, a four-day tennis competition between men’s tennis professionals May 1st-4th – the first professional-level tennis in two months – which will be shown live and on-demand on Tennis Channel International. With the launch, Tennis Channel will make its programming available for purchase outside the United States for the first time.
The network has hired sports-and-media executive Andy Reif to oversee the product as senior vice president, Tennis Channel International. Additionally, Tennis Channel is turning to global technology and data provider Sportradar for its OTT platform.
Tennis Channel International will feature a new 24-hour streamed programming channel, Tennis Channel Deutschland, the first in Germany devoted exclusively to tennis. Programming includes original Tennis Channel series, documentaries, features, instruction, highlights and select matches on-demand. Tennis Channel International will also cover live competition from Tennis Bundesliga, Germany’s top team tennis league.
Archived content will feature hundreds of hours of programming from numerous providers, including founding partners the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and German Tennis Federation (Deutscher Tennis Bund – DTB), and will be available on-demand. Tennis Channel and the ITF are developing an ITF channel for the platform as well. Users will also be able to follow every professional tennis match in the world through Sportradar’s MatchCast, a channel with never-before-seen dynamic graphics and more tennis statistics and data than anything currently available in the sport.
The service will be available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on the web at www.tennischannel.com and on iOs and Android mobile devices, tablets, FireTV and select smart TVs for €2.49 per month. United States-based subscribers of Tennis Channel Plus will also have automatic access to select Tennis Channel International programming as part of the Tennis Channel Plus service.
An early highlight for the new service will take place imminently in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state. Set for May 1st-4th, the Tennis Point Exhibition Series will be live and on-demand on Tennis Channel International as the nation eases Coronavirus-prevention restrictions.
Headlined by German star Dustin Brown, the 32-match, four-day event will occur behind closed doors without fans in attendance, and showcase eight players from the men’s professional tennis tour. It will be the first competition between ranked players since professional tennis was suspended in early March as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. Tennis Channel will also show the competition to US audiences live on the network and on www.tennis.com.
As senior vice president, Tennis Channel International, Reif will see to the launch and subsequent expansion of the global product, which the network plans to introduce to additional marketplaces within the next 12 months. He has been a network consultant and managing the project since its inception. Reif has more than 30 years of sports-and-entertainment experience, including executive leadership roles with National Geographic Partners, Body Glove Asia, Championship Gaming Series, International Creative Management, Paramount Pictures Corp. and the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals).
“Tennis Channel has changed the tennis-media landscape here in the United States, and I’m honoured to guide the next phase of expansion into an international arena that counts this sport among its top favourites,” said Reif. “Tennis is a truly global sport and Tennis Channel is the ideal product to connect with tennis fans throughout the world. We’re especially excited to launch this groundbreaking service in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where tennis has a storied past, strong levels of participation and fan interest, and is positioned for growth.”
Jan Menneken, a London-based sports-media consultant and longtime tennis executive, will continue to work closely with Reif. Menneken spent more than 15 years guiding television and brand sales at the ITF and has held leadership positions with the NBA in its efforts to expand awareness in Germany and Central Europe. He has advised Tennis Channel on international market growth since 2017.
Sportradar works with more than 1,000 companies in more than 80 countries, with its video platform services already used by the ITF, FIA World Rally Championship, Deutsche Telekom AG, German Football Association and Onefootball. Under the company’s management Tennis Channel International will offer the most data-intensive experience among tennis media platforms.
“We look forward to working with Tennis Channel International to supply our OTT platform for one of the rare live sporting events happening at the moment,” said Rainer Geier, managing director, Sportradar OTT and advertising solutions. “With our unrivalled data and expertise, we are confident that we will deliver a highly engaging experience for all tennis fans.”