Didn't comcast say it would have tennis channel by now? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Didn't comcast say it would have tennis channel by now?

LiZpHaIr
02-09-2005, 06:05 AM
I WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

gsm
02-09-2005, 09:14 AM
i am very jealous of those who have TTC.

the ITF should be pushing hard to get something like this worldwide.

smucav
02-09-2005, 03:45 PM
i am very jealous of those who have TTC.Only around 26% of American households have it now. If/when Comcast finally picks it up the number will go up substantially. During the U.S. Open the word was Comcast would finalize the agreement by end of 2004 with coverage beginning in 2005, but nothing has happened so far.

Leena
02-09-2005, 03:54 PM
That must be 26% are ABLE to get TTC.

taysbest
02-10-2005, 11:34 AM
Comcast is evil! Not only is there no tennis channel in sight- they are raising their rates. Oh there are just a terrible company. I think you can get TTC on Voom but I'm not sure what the details are on that.

Leena- I like the little kitty cat on your picture!!

tennyfan
02-10-2005, 12:38 PM
I get the Tennis Channel through a satellite provider called Voom. They are mainly a hi-definition satellite company, but they get all the other cable/local channels that Comcast does. The only station we can't get is WB11 because it's a local station and its too far away to pick up the signal. They are always running specials for installation because they are only a year old and trying to form a base. Last year, they installed a hi-def box, satellite, and hi-def antenna for free with no contract. Their service is great too.

In the meantime, if someone is looking for a match that is broadcast on the tennis channel, I'd be happy to make a copy for you. Just send me a PM in advance so I can set my DVD Recorder.

onewoman74
02-10-2005, 01:30 PM
I'm happy that i receive TTC. Time Warner Cable in NYC provides coverage. I'd rather TTC than movie channels.

smucav
02-10-2005, 05:26 PM
That must be 26% are ABLE to get TTC. Right.

If/when Comcast does add TTC, it will be part of the digital cable package that costs more than regular cable. (In my area digital cable is $25 more per month, plus whatever the start-up costs are for the box/installation.) I would pay extra, but I don't have that option.

victory1
02-10-2005, 07:16 PM
I have Comcast and I have the Tennis Channel. I'm in Atlanta. You probably have it and don't realize it, it's not free, you it comes with a basic sport backage that's $5.99 a month. I would check with your local Comcast to make sure it's not available to you. I've had it for at least 8 months now.

jole
02-10-2005, 07:18 PM
I have Comcast and I have the Tennis Channel. I'm in Atlanta. You probably have it and don't realize it, it's not free, you it comes with a basic sport backage that's $5.99 a month. I would check with your local Comcast to make sure it's not available to you. I've had it for at least 8 months now.

Not to be nosy, but how much is it costing you total a month?

I know you need basic digital, then all you need to get is the sports pack add-on?

victory1
02-10-2005, 07:24 PM
I have Comcast and I have the Tennis Channel. I'm in Atlanta. You probably have it and don't realize it, it's not free, you it comes with a basic sport backage that's $5.99 a month. I would check with your local Comcast to make sure it's not available to you. I've had it for at least 8 months now.


I have the silver package, all the HBO's and it cost $57.30 (with taxes and 2 converters) a month for 16 months, I have about 9 months left on the deal. I get a $25 discount for dumping the dish for 16 months. So in 9 months my charges will be about $82.00, but I plan to dump my HBO's and save my $13, so I'll be looking at $69 if cable don't go up.

jole
02-10-2005, 07:26 PM
I have the silver package, all the HBO's and it cost $57.30 (with taxes and 2 converters) a month for 16 months, I have about 9 months left on the deal. I get a $25 discount for dumping the dish for 16 months. So in 9 months my charges will be about $82.00, but I plan to dump my HBO's and save my $13, so I'll be looking at $69 if cable don't go up.

Ah ok, gotcha. Do you know if I could get the basic digital + the sports pack and that be it? I guess I should call Comcast and ask, I just hate dealing with them.

jole
02-10-2005, 07:27 PM
As in, the only reason I want digital is for the tennis, nada else.

smucav
02-10-2005, 08:12 PM
I have Comcast and I have the Tennis Channel. I'm in Atlanta. You probably have it and don't realize it, it's not free, you it comes with a basic sport backage that's $5.99 a month. I would check with your local Comcast to make sure it's not available to you. I've had it for at least 8 months now.No. I have checked many times. It is not available. Atlanta is the only area where it is available through Comcast. Atlanta has the highest number of USTA members outside of Florida & California; someone in Atlanta lobbied Comcast to enter into a special deal with TTC when it was just starting up.

jole
02-10-2005, 08:14 PM
No. I have checked many times. It is not available. Atlanta is the only area where it is available through Comcast. Atlanta has the highest number of USTA members outside of Florida & California; someone in Atlanta lobbied Comcast to enter into a special deal with TTC when it was just starting up.

Yes, Atlanta also has the largest tennis league in the world. Now if this place get it's damn ATP level event back I'll be quite happy.

shaoyu
02-10-2005, 09:24 PM
I am in San Francisco Bay Area but I don't see the tennis channel in my lineup yet.

ae wowww
02-10-2005, 09:25 PM
I wish we could get the Tennis Channel in England :sad: maybe they will make it available in the future?

LiZpHaIr
02-10-2005, 09:30 PM
I'm in northern Cali and comcast is BAD!

taysbest
02-11-2005, 12:42 PM
I have Comcast and I have the Tennis Channel. I'm in Atlanta. You probably have it and don't realize it, it's not free, you it comes with a basic sport backage that's $5.99 a month. I would check with your local Comcast to make sure it's not available to you. I've had it for at least 8 months now.

You are so lucky! I call comcast at least every 2 weeks to ask for it and I had everyone I work with call. The answer is always the same "If we decide to offer it- we'll let you know". I have the stupid sports package and it's all soccer- but my husband seems to enjoy it so it stays.

jasmine(usa)
02-11-2005, 07:35 PM
I have Direct satalite service, anyone have info on that? I'd love to have TTC.

smucav
02-19-2005, 03:49 PM
http://www.tennisreporters.net/sub_TTC_021805.htmlUS CABLE NETWORK COULD BECOME MAJOR PLAYER
The Tennis Channel buys Scottsdale: Says major cable or satellite is coming
IMG unloads another tournament: Is Palo Alto next?
By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters.net

While discussing The Tennis Channel's purchase of next week's Scottsdale's men's tournament, TTC CEO Steve Bellamy tipped his hand that in the near future, the fledgling TV outfit will announce that it has nailed a big deal with the likes of cable giant Comcast or a huge satellite provider like DirecTV.

ca1houn
02-19-2005, 04:04 PM
Comcast is evil! Not only is there no tennis channel in sight- they are raising their rates. Oh there are just a terrible company. I think you can get TTC on Voom but I'm not sure what the details are on that.

Leena- I like the little kitty cat on your picture!!


you should try working for it no union i hate itbut at 19 what you going to do

tennnisgirl7
02-19-2005, 04:06 PM
Im in Houston Texas and I have the tennis channel I got it with time warner digital cable.

smucav
03-15-2005, 05:32 PM
Finally:

http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=12591&bannerregion=
Tennis Channel Signs Comcast Deal
By Tennis Week
03/15/2005

The Tennis Channel continues to grow. The cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports has signed a multi year affiliation agreement with Comcast Cable, the leading cable operator in the United States. The arrangement provides for carriage opportunities for the traditional, linear network, as well as video on demand (VOD) content.

"Weíre excited to have the opportunity to work with Comcast to bring The Tennis Channelís programming to more customers," said David Meister, CEO and chairman, The Tennis Channel. "Itís great to be offering viewers Tennis Channel video-on-demand content, taking fullest advantage of rapidly evolving distribution technology."

The Tennis Channel offers coverage of the U.S. Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup. The Tennis Channel also showcases instruction from the finest teachers, legendary matches, in-depth profiles of the greatest players, analysis and news, the latest on equipment, and tennis getaways.

"A number of tennis hotbeds are served by Comcast systems," said Randy Brown, senior vice president, distribution, The Tennis Channel. "Weíre looking forward to the opportunity to bring our top-tier tournaments, lifestyle programming and instructional series to Comcast customers around the country."

onewoman74
03-15-2005, 05:49 PM
I'm so happy for those guys that have Comcast...it's about time.

I felt guilty having TTC, but not anymore!!!

Enjoy!!!!

Socket
03-15-2005, 05:56 PM
I don't want to throw cold water on the celebration, but there's no guarantee that every individual Comcast affiliate will offer TTC. They are allowed some discretion to tailor their offerings to local markets. The deal simply means that Comcast affiliates now can offer TTC, but it doesn't automatically mean everyone will get it. I'd start calling your local Comcast provider to bug them to pick up TTC.

mangoes
03-15-2005, 05:58 PM
Yes, Atlanta also has the largest tennis league in the world. Now if this place get it's damn ATP level event back I'll be quite happy.


I live in Florida and get it through BrightHouse. There are a lot of people that think Bright House doesn't carry it, but it does. However, you must have digital cable and then request the Tennis Channel. It cost me about 3 bucks extra per month, and I didn't only get the Tennis Channel, but a couple other sport dedicated channels.

onewoman74
03-15-2005, 06:41 PM
I don't want to throw cold water on the celebration, but there's no guarantee that every individual Comcast affiliate will offer TTC. They are allowed some discretion to tailor their offerings to local markets. The deal simply means that Comcast affiliates now can offer TTC, but it doesn't automatically mean everyone will get it. I'd start calling your local Comcast provider to bug them to pick up TTC.

Thanks for the clarification.

smucav
03-24-2005, 01:17 AM
Here is the response I received from The Tennis Channel spokesman regarding the Comcast deal:From: Abner, Eric
To: <smucav>
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 9:04 PM
Subject: RE: Comcast/TTC Details

Hi <smucav>:

The Tennis Channel is launched on a system-by-system basis, with each local operator making decisions for its respective market. Your affiliate will have to decide to launch Comcast in your area. The deal was announced on March 16, and it was up to Comcast Cableís corporate headquarters at that point to begin filtering the news out to its various systems. At this point they may be aware that The Tennis Channel is available to them.

Thanks for your support and interest.

Eric

Fee
03-27-2005, 07:05 AM
So, has anyone with Comcast had any luck in adding the Tennis Channel yet?

smucav
04-05-2005, 05:48 PM
TTC e-mail:
THE TENNIS CHANNEL SIGNS COMCAST!

Hey Tennis Channel Fans!
This spring, The Tennis Channel is rolling out on Comcast Cable systems throughout America.
Now many of you will have access to round-the-clock coverage of the gameís greatest matches, hottest players, and best tips for improving your game. So stay tuned, and call your local cable operator to find out when The Tennis Channel will be available in your area.
Comcast: 800-266-2278 (800-COMCAST)

euroka1
04-05-2005, 05:52 PM
I called COMCAST this morning and they said it was up to the county. Well, at least I registered my enthusiasm (I hope).

shaoyu
04-11-2005, 07:58 PM
Just checked my cable lineup, still no tennis channel yet :(

smucav
05-31-2005, 06:11 PM
http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=13047&bannerregion=The Tennis Week Interview: Tennis Channel President Steve Bellamy
By Tennis Week
05/31/2005

The Tennis Channel is two years old, and while many throughout the country are still unable to get this growing network ó and recent changes in the satellite TV market have even taken the channel away from some who did have it ó The Tennis Channel is widely regarded in the industry as one of the sportís most influential enterprises.

The respect The Tennis Channel (TTC) has in the tennis world was evident in March when TTC was awarded the ATP Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award. Separate from any award considerations, TTC, spreading its wings beyond the airwaves but furthering its commitment to the game, staged the inaugural Tennis Channel Open in March, having purchased the ATP tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Recognizing that Cablevision is the parent company for the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers, one canít help but wonder if we are witnessing a budding tennis empire. In preparation for an extensive interview with TTC founder Steve Bellamy, Tennis Week and TennisWeek.com recently asked readers what they would like to know about TTC. In the first of a two-part feature, we present Bellamyís response to those and other questions on the following pages. But to understand better what drives Bellamy and helps shape TTCís presentation of events, you should know how this teaching pro/musician/entrepreneur sees tennis: "We have the best sport there is. It provides fitness for life as no other sport. It knows no boundaries of gender, ethnicity, color, creed or affluence. It can be played at any age, any skill level and nearly anywhere in the world. It provides life lessons and builds character. After soccer, it is the most popular sport in the world. In my opinion, the professional game is the best professionally played sport there is. It is played on unique surfaces from exotic ports of call all over the world. Our athletes are some of the most acclaimed human beings in the world. Andre, Venus and Serena are branded by first name alone and permeate pop culture. If you ever have the good fortune of going to Andreís event in Las Vegas, it doesnít take long to realize that he is one of the greatest human beings our world has produced. Our legends ó Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, etc. ó have changed the way we live. The cultural impact of our sport caused athletic shoes to be branded as tennis shoes, bracelets as tennis bracelets and helped shaped fashion and popular culture. We have a brick-and-mortar infrastructure in America, and throughout most of the world, that includes: racquet clubs, country clubs, pro shops, private courts at homes and significant shelf space in big box retailers. We have competition for every level in every town in the country. Because of these things, I have devoted my life to being an evangelist for tennis. Itís worth it."

Tennis Week: TTC bought the Scottsdale menís tournament. Why?

Steve Bellamy: We believe heavily in tennis and are always looking for other assets like tournaments that could be strategically beneficial to tennis and TTC. The Arizona event is going to be great for our business in that we can package sponsorship and hospitality with advertising buys. We can use it to try everything under the sun in terms of enhancing our productions, and there are many other synergies with the network. The event will probably move next year. We are in those discussions now.

Tennis Week: TTC was one of the bidders for the ATPís Hamlet Cup tournament on Long Island. That event has since been awarded to New Haven, but tell us about your involvement.

Steve Bellamy: We were involved with a group from various disciplines in tennis who made a bid to move the old Hamlet Cup to Forest Hills. [Editorsí note: Tennis Week was a member of TTC bid group] We bid against the USTA, which was making the New Haven bid, and a group from Chicago. The bidding process quickly moved to a point where we couldnít make financial sense of it; so we bowed out and the USTA won the bid. This was a situation where the fragmentation of tennis and the calendar really worked against our sport. Itís great that we now have a combined menís and womenís event in New Haven, but itís a crime that we donít have a top-tier event in Chicago, just like itís a crime we donít have a top-tier event in Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, etc. There are 38 states with no top-tier tennis events. On the other hand, we are beating the living snot out of these players with the travel. Of retired players that I speak to, the travel grind is much worse than the training or injury. We put our bid in for a number of reasons. At a certain price, we (TTC) are buyers for almost anything in tennis, be it a brand, a hard goods manufacturer, a travel company, magazine ó you name it. We were excited to be in a business with the group that was put together as there were tremendous synergies. Allowing the players to stay in the same hotel for three weeks was great and all of them that I spoke to were extremely excited about it. Much like a presidential race, though, we have a winner, and now it is important for everyone to embrace the outcome. We are going to be as supportive as we can to
New Haven to help make that a success.

Tennis Week: Who are TTCís investors?

Steve Bellamy: Columbia Capital, Bain Capital, Battery Ventures, JP Morgan Chase, Apollo Partners, D & D Capital, Waterview Advisors, EdsLink, Tennis Channel Management, Pete Sampras, IMG, Andre Agassi.

Tennis Week: How hands on are Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and IMG? Has IMGís management change affected the channel?

Steve Bellamy: We arenít calling Pete and Andre when the toilet gets backed up or when light bulbs need to be changed. But whenever we do need something from them, it is usually big and they have been extremely gracious with their time. Mark McCormack was a great guy and was just getting started to do cool things with the channel when [he died]. Life is weird. I had just eaten lunch with him a couple of days prior and had just spoken to him on the phone the day before. In that call, he was telling me about how healthy he felt and that he had just gotten back from an extremely positive medical checkup. Life is fragile. Outside of that, not a lot has changed with the exception of picking up the Scottsdale tournament from IMG.

Tennis Week: Who are TTCís largest advertisers?

Steve Bellamy: General Motors, Geico, Acura, Pfizer, Chattem, Genworth, AIM, Match.com.

Tennis Week: Is TTC profitable yet? If not, when will it be?

Steve Bellamy: The Tennis Channel probably wonít reach profitability for a number of years, which is very typical for networks of this ilk.

Tennis Week: How many subscribers does TTC have today? Estimate at the end of 2005?

Steve Bellamy: It is nearly impossible to give precise subscriber numbers for any network such as ours while in the growth phase. Everyday we are adding new systems. A large portion of those launches are on new cable products (i.e., digital tiers, sports tiers, etc.) The overwhelming majority of those accounts do not have hard subscriber numbers. Sometime in í05, we should be in about 10 million homes.

Tennis Week: Is it too early to get a grasp of your ratings?

Steve Bellamy: Probably a few years too early.

Tennis Week: Tell our readers what the basic financial mechanics are of the TTC cutting a deal with the cable companies throughout America. This might help explain to all of the tennis fanatics why itís not TTCís fault that coverage is not everywhere.

Steve Bellamy: The mature sports networks charge hefty fees for their programming. For the largest, multiple dollars from everybodyís cable bill goes to the network/programmer. When you multiply that by the 80 million homes and 12 months a year, you can see how the big guys take an extraordinarily large amount of money out of each householdís cable bill. It is a completely different paradigm for new networks such as ours. We are basically free to every operator for a significant amount of time and then go to an extremely small fee to the operator. On top of that, since the majority of our distribution is against a smaller subscriber universe, the financial burden we pass to the operator is relatively small. Our investors are aware of this and knew before they got involved. The financial bet here is that as media fragments, the smaller niche networks will fare much better. You are already seeing the migration of ratings, ad dollars and programming to the cable networks from broadcast networks. This trend will continue to the benefit of the more targeted networks. To the fanatics out there, words canít describe how hard we try to get the channel into every home in America. We need your help on this. Call your distributors if you donít get it.

Tennis Week: Will TTC ever make a deal with the Dolan family for Cablevision coverage?

Steve Bellamy: We certainly hope so. We are always trying to get added to every cable or satellite system. The rumor bandied that TTC is holding out for some Kingís Ransom is folklore. If we arenít on, it is generally because the operator doesnít have the bandwidth or tennis fans have not expressed sufficient interest.

Tennis Week: TTC recently signed a contract with Comcast, but readers say they have called their local Comcast company and the representatives say they have not even heard of TTC. How long does it take from the time the agreement is signed to the local system carrying TTC programming?

Steve Bellamy: We are already launched on several Comcast systems and have a ton more in the queue. Every Comcast system in America now has the ability to launch The Tennis Channel. The managers of those systems gauge consumer interest and add new channels accordingly. After those managers make the decisions, the information gets passed down to the customer service reps, who tend to be the last to know. If you donít have it yet, CALL! The number of cities in America that were dead set against launching the channel and then were swayed by public interest is amazing. You guys pay the bills and, therefore, wield a lot of power. If you arenít getting the channel, then use that power. Call! E-mail! Write letters!

Tennis Week: Will TTC ever be on DirecTV?

Steve Bellamy: We certainly hope so. There has been a major management change there recently, and hopefully the new regime is excited to get more tennis on television. We are certainly a perfect fit for their service. There are a ton of tennis fans who are DirecTV subscribers.

Tennis Week: Please explain VOOM satellite and the availability of TTC on VOOM, which we understand has gone bankrupt and will cease operation in May.

Steve Bellamy: VOOM is much like DirecTV or DISH Network, except that they provided a plethora of original high definition content. Unfortunately, they shut the service down at the end of April. I have had the unfortunate job of having to speak to a lot of these subscribers who have been watching morning, noon and night. I have had two separate VOOM installers say that 90 percent of the installs they performed were for tennis fans, as opposed to people who wanted the service for hi-def. I had VOOM at the Palisades Tennis Center and at The Tennis Channel; so I am not happy. Luckily, I can switch to Adelphia easily.

Tennis Week: By the way, what does coverage mean to a subscriber? Does he currently always have to pay for TTC as part of a premium service? Will it ever be free?

Steve Bellamy: We highly encourage the distributor to provide the channel on the most basic platform at minimal cost to the consumer. There are certain operators who have us on the most basic analog package, certain ones who have us on the most basic digital and others who have us on a sports tier. We are never a la carte. The consumer requests of what package a channel resides on is paramount to our distribution platform and cost to the consumer. We hope that consumers will be asking for the channel to live on the most basic tiers. It is clearly more beneficial to TTC and the consumer to be on the broadest of packages.

Tennis Week: Do you think you are going to be bad for the tennis magazines or web-based tennis businesses?

Steve Bellamy: We are going to be one of the best things to happen to the tennis magazines in a long time. We are doing a great job of getting corporate America interested in spending money on tennis again. Undoubtedly, some of those companies will not just make television buys, but will buy magazine pages as well. We are helping to make stars out of the players they feature. We are growing the gross product of the sport and everyone benefits. To run this business, we need an ad sales staff of more than 10 people. There arenít many tennis magazines that have that many sales reps. It just means that more of corporate America gets sold on the virtues of tennis. In general, as long as the money is coming into the industry, we all are going to do better. It is less important whether it goes to Tennis Week, Tennis magazine, Tennis Life or a tournament sponsorship and more important that it finds its way to the sport. Money will circulate as long as it comes to the sport. Also, it doesnít do tennis or The Tennis Channel any good if a magazine goes out of business, and we have purposely tried to veer away from advertising dollars that could potentially be given to us in lieu of going to a tennis magazine. In terms of tennis web sites, ditto.

Tennis Week: How big an impact on TTC was it to lose its CEO David Meister and where is he going?

Steve Bellamy: We had to raise a lot of capital in the post 9-11 time frame, and we had to get distribution in the middle of enormous cable and satellite industry consolidation. It was exhausting. David is going to re-visit his life and his wife. In other words, take a deep breath. The guy taking his place, Ken Solomon is extremely savvy in the television business and through his past experiences can bring new companies to our fold to help the revenue side of our business. David helped get the company through the heavy lifting phase, but the rest of the staff is still intact and incredible. It really doesnít get any better in terms of programming and distribution than Bruce Rider and Randy Brown. Larry Meyers is phenomenal in production, Adam Weene in business development and Jene Elzie in programming. The talent pool at The Tennis Channel is as good as it gets in a business like this. Although David will be missed, the management now could run a business many times the size of The Tennis Channel.

Tennis Week: Will TTC ever have a budget for research to improve the poor visibility of the ball on TV? Or research on the best court color for ball visibility? Or research on the best color of the ball for ball visibility? And why hasnít the angle of the overview camera changed in the last 30 years?

Steve Bellamy: We donít have a specific budget, but one of the benefits of being able to spend thousands of hours producing tennis is that we can experiment with every camera angle, lens, commentary and production variable. My particular pet peeve is that 30-year-old camera No. 1 position that most directors sit on for about 99 percent of the broadcast. That camera shot makes tennis look like two ants hitting a tic tac. It takes a while to decide whether you are watching a menís or a womenís match and makes ripping inside-out forehands look like they are traveling about 20 mph. I hate that camera position and believe that it is one of the reasons tennis has not done better in the past. If you watched our coverage of Scottsdale, our camera No. 1 position was in the third row. It was like watching ďMonday Night Football.Ē You could really feel the points and understand all of the pace and junk on the balls. You could feel the artistry and athleticism of the players. No one would go to a tennis match and ask for a ticket in Row 89. How that ridiculous camera position ever became the industry standard is mind-numbing. I think the litmus test here is very simple: Have tennis productions over the last 30 years been successful? There was a time when tennis was one of the most dominant sports on television. Over the past couple decades, tennis, outside of the Grand Slams, has been largely relegated to time buys in less valuable time slots than a spelling bee or poker. We have reached a time when many of the people who have made tennis productions in the past few decades need to wake up and realize they havenít been that successful. I truly believe that tennis is the best professionally played sport of all sports. Our athletes have raised the bar higher than anyone. They have to play against a talent pool that is the entire globe; there is no off-season. It is mano-a-mano. All these factors push the talent bar to incredible heights. Yet with that one camera position, most of the magic on the court is nullified. Another thing that I want to pay a lot of attention to is sound. On ďMonday Night Football,Ē you hear every nuance, every pad crack. On NBA basketball [telecasts], you hear every shoe squeak. In the lionís share of tennis broadcasts, the sound is an afterthought, and the same couple of SM-57 microphones that were on the court 20 years ago are the same ones there today. You canít hear the athleticism you can in other sports, even though there is more. You hear a grunt and then a ball hit and then some clapping. That is not representative of what is truly happening on the court and just doesnít cut it anymore. We have to change it! In terms of color, it still amazes me after all these years some events still have a ball that is basically the same color as the court. I have a 72-inch television, and sometimes during those events, I have to sit so close to see the ball that when I blink, I end up dusting the screen. Either I have to do some major eyelash pruning, or we have to make sure the ball is a color that shows up against the court surface ó and if the cameras are in the right place, against the back wall.

Tennis Week: Are you open to new programming ideas? More junior tennis, such as Kalamazoo and the Easter Bowl? Intercollegiate tennis? Watching the pros practice? Following the pros, as in a lifestyle regular feature? Regular travel segments? Training site documentaries? But not the already-visited Bollettieri, Macci, Evert or Van de Meer academies; the places in South America, Spain, Australia, Russia and the Czech Republic, for instance.

Steve Bellamy: We are interested in all new programming ideas. There is a protocol that has to be followed before we can look at anything, but we clearly understand that there are a lot of great minds out there who can help make the channel better. In terms of the topics you have mentioned, we are interested in them all and are in the middle of production on some of those topics.

Tennis Week: A TennisWeek.com reader in China wants to know: Will TTC ever cover the other racquet sports: court tennis, squash, racquets, paddle tennis, platform tennis, etc.? And will TTC ever be available internationally ó especially in China?

Steve Bellamy: We show all of those ancillary racquet sports, plus a few more. It is possible that The Tennis Channel will be in other parts of the world, just not now. But the best points from any racquet sport we broadcast were from table tennis and badminton. I have often been late somewhere because I couldnít pull myself away from womenís badminton doubles with four players Iíve never heard of. It is captivating. The badminton birdie goes from 250 mph to zero in about a second. The hand-eye coordination these players have is phenomenal.

Tennis Week: Will TTC ever have a news program, and if so, how do you maintain journalistic integrity when you now own a tournament that youíre going to be talking about and broadcasting?

Steve Bellamy: We have the Acura News Report currently, and we also disseminate news interstitially through crawls, updates and the web site. We will probably roll out a news program in a limited way in the next 12 months. News is tricky. It is typically the lowest-rated, most expensive, most perishable thing you can build. But with tennis as international as it is, we do believe at the end of the day we should have news. In terms of journalistic integrity, my answer is simple: I really donít see us as journalists. We are promoters. [Tennis Week Publisher] Gene Scott is a journalist. [Tennis magazine Senior Editor] Peter Bodo is a journalist. What we do and what they do are radically different. Our mission is to promote tennis. We are extremely true to that mission. I am a big fan of great journalism, and although I donít think enough of our journalists talk about how great the game is being played now, we are very fortunate to have a lot of very talented writers. I am candid enough to say that it isnít really what we are right now. People like Gene Scott and [Tennis magazine Group Publisher] Jeff Williams are trying to grow tennis through reporting on it, and we are trying to grow tennis through promoting it. At the end of the day, we complement and overlap in a lot of ways, but are different. On a day when a title sponsorship falls apart, the journalists are covering that, and we are talking about Rafael Nadalís footwork, Lleyton Hewittís tenacity, Carlos Moyaís inside-out forehand or Maria Sharapovaís training.

Tennis Week: You constantly tout how good TTC is for tennis. Aside from the obvious, how are you good? If people are watching, they arenít playing.

Steve Bellamy: A recent Scarborough Report shows that tennis fan interest in America is up 22 percent over the past two years, but in markets where The Tennis Channel has launched, that number is 33 percent. These markets arenít confined to particular regions or any other variable. That says tennis is growing 50 percent faster in terms of fan interest if the people in the market can get The Tennis Channel. We are an industry hoping for low single-digit growth, and in two years, The Tennis Channel has built a catalyst for 50 percent growth. I need to find the right metaphor here to do this stat justice and I canít. When the channel comes to a market, we immediately engage all the local people on the ground. The cable operator does Tennis Channel advertising on all of their cross- channel inventory, cable trucks get painted with tennis motifs, billboards go up, etc. In most cities, it is a grassroots marketing bonanza that has as much or more impact than all the tennis on the air. I get the channel at my house, at my club and in my office, and itís like a fish tank. It is on morning, noon and night. I turn it on in the morning before I turn on the lights, and I turn it off at night after I have turned off the lights. Anecdotally, I speak to viewers all the time, and their comments are nearly always the same: (The Tennis Channel) leads them to play more tennis. It leads them to try new equipment, take more lessons, etc. The Tennis Channel is an incredible vehicle to tenniscize America.

Part Two of this interview, in which Bellamy shares his thoughts on ESPNís tennis coverage and tells which players are best-suited to television, will be published in the June 21st issue of Tennis Week.

This story appears in the latest issue of Tennis Week Magazine. To subscribe with a special reduced web rate, please visit this Subscription link.

Angle Queen
05-31-2005, 06:41 PM
So, has anyone with Comcast had any luck in adding the Tennis Channel yet?:sad:

TTC has indeed come to our humble area...but only if one is lucky enough to get Comcast's digital package, which alas, we are not.

ca1houn
05-31-2005, 06:57 PM
Iím from Los Angeles and I get the TTC it on channel 229 I had to pay 6.00 MY mom a manger so I will check on it.