Tennis gets major boost in UK with blockbuster new Sky Sports deal
Tennis will have a new home on UK and Irish television after media giant Sky Sports announced a new blockbuster deal with the ATP and WTA.
Sky Sports already has the rights to the US Open, but they will now show live tennis 48 weeks of the year due to the new deal.
It covers 80 tournaments a year and more than 4,000 tournaments, with the broadcaster paying £10million per year for the rights.
Those tournaments will include all ATP 1000 Masters, WTA 1000 events, as well as 500s and 250s. The ATP Finals and WTA Finals are also included, but domestic tournaments are not, with the likes of Queen’s part of a separate deal the BBC currently has with the LTA.
In addition, a new dedicated channel is expected to be launched for their tennis coverage, which will be fronted by presenter Gigi Salmon and experts Tim Henman and Laura Robson.
“This is a fantastic time to see the ATP and WTA Tours on Sky Sports across our markets, as tennis enters a new era with fresh and exciting talent making their way to the top of the sport,” Sky UK and Ireland CEO Stephen van Rooyen said.
“We are committed to bringing the two Tours together to elevate both male and female stars and deliver world-class coverage of the 80 events across 48 weeks of the year; creating a brand-new home for tennis fans.”
Sky Sports has a long history with tennis, with the company holding the UK rights for 25 years before they went to Amazon Prime in 2018.
In that regard, there is probably a sense for many viewers that tennis is coming home, although the ad-free coverage of Amazon will also be missed.
‘The start of an amazing new chapter for tennis’ ??pic.twitter.com/NQ2hlFLEtb
— Sky Sports Tennis (@SkySportsTennis) November 24, 2023
“We are extremely excited by the commitment we are seeing from Sky to both men’s and women’s tennis,” said ATP Media CEO Mark Webster.
“ATP Media prides itself on producing and delivering the huge amount of world class content generated on the ATP Tour and the three Sky entities have shown themselves to be the perfect partners to provide this content to our many tennis fans.
“We share many of the same values, striving for innovation and excellence, and we hope this is just the start of an amazing new chapter for tennis in these Sky markets.”
‘Exciting opportunity’ for tennis
Tim Henman has become a regular and respected voice on tennis in recent years due to his work as an analyst with Amazon and Eurosport.
He will have a key role in the new deal, and he believes it can open up tennis to a wider audience in what is an exciting era for the sport with youngsters such as Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Coco Cauff, Iga Swiatek and Emma Raducanu forging their legacies.
“There are so many opportunities of not only growing the game to a younger audience but also showcasing the different technologies and take a deep dive into the analysis of why these top players are so good,” Henman said.
“It’s something Sky Sports has done so well in so many different sports and it’s exciting to bring that expertise back to tennis and make the game accessible and encourage more young people to take up the sport.”
Meanwhile, WTA Ventures CEO Marina Storti added: “This partnership is brilliant news for tennis fans who can look forward to more exciting action from the Hologic WTA Tour in 2024 and beyond with a strengthened calendar which will elevate the sport even further.
“Sky Sports are renowned for championing world-class sport, and we know that they will create a fantastic new platform to showcase our outstanding WTA and ATP athletes in one place. The future is bright for women’s sport and there is much more growth to come.”
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