How To Watch Tennis Channel Online – Tennis Channel International responds to pandemic with live programming The OTT service has broadcast more than 1,000 matches since its launch in May.
When Tennis Channel International launched in Germany last May, the OTT service had no intention of broadcasting live tennis. However, COVID-19 and its impact on the world of tennis opened up some unexpected opportunities a few months ago.
“When we started,” says Tennis Channel SVP, International Andy Reif, “we thought the live rights wouldn’t be available for two or three years and our whole strategy would be classic matches and original features. But COVID happened . and when the tournaments were discontinued, the shows kept coming and the Tennis Channel began negotiations with those shows.
The effect was great. The service has shown more than 1,000 matches live and was the official broadcast partner of December’s ATP 500 Hamburg European Open and the German DTB Tennis Championships (which had never had a media partner before).
“Those tournaments were extremely well played and even in Germany they had a stronger viewership than the Hamburg Open, which was a global player,” says Reif. “It showed there was an opportunity to focus on live tennis and original programming.”
He notes that the idea behind Tennis Channel International is to bring some coherence to a sport that offers different tournaments, four independently held Grand Slams and legal agreements that can sometimes make it difficult for fans to find the information they want. .
“The central concept was to be a meeting place for tennis fans, a place where they could grow and tell the story of tennis in different ways,” says Reif. “Tennis Channel is the place in the United States, but the rest of the world does not have a central meeting place for tennis.”
Figuring out how to launch an OTT service on a global scale is a challenge for any organization, so Reif and his team decided to focus their efforts on countries with strong tennis federations.
“We looked at where tennis is popular and where there are so many players who play at least once a month. These countries have strong tennis associations,” he explains. “We wanted to launch SVOD services where they are popular, where people are used to paying for streaming and where the infrastructure is available to support it.”
The 1.4 million member Deutscher Tennis Bund (DTB) was the main focus in Germany and a partnership was established. The subscription service started for about $2.75 a month and Sportradar monitors the app.
With the paid service up and running, Reif says the focus is on launching a free, ad-supported streaming TV service through Samsung, and with technology partner Amagi on the look and feel of the service.
“We’re building awareness of TCI through the express channel so fans can switch to subscribing,” says Reif. “It was released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and in the UK on Samsung TV Plus before it came out this year.”
While FAST offers people a seamless experience, Reif notes that the 24/7 channel is programmed entirely with tennis fans in mind, with weekly and monthly themes.
“Amagi allows us to incorporate dynamic graphics so it looks like a channel and not just a playlist,” he says.
In addition to 24/7 content, fans will also find hundreds of hours of VOD content. The production team analyzed thousands of hours of content created for Tennis Channel to find the content that would most appeal to a global audience.
“Now, when I go to our service center, I have to look at an incredible amount of thousands of hours of stuff,” says Reif.
And something truly original is MatchCast, a live scores app that allows fans to follow the match live from almost any device.
“Tennis fans have never had anything like this,” Reiff points out. “For this, we have Sportradar as our technology partner, which enables fans to watch every game in the world live and follow the results and progress of the match, as well as statistics and data.”
MatchCast is still in beta testing, but Reif expects it to be a hit with fans who want to follow every match in every tournament, every time. “The die-hard fans want to follow different games even if they can’t watch them.”
It is important to provide original content from around the world and a team of Predators (those who create and edit content) travel with the tournament and focus on tennis 365 days a year.
“They have access to footage and interviews to tell the story of tennis and at the end of the day that’s the goal,” he says. “We have access to player features, human interest stories and anything created for the linear channel.”
Speaking of linear, the Tennis Channel is moving into a new production facility in Los Angeles with more sets and soundstages that could play a big role in the future.
“We can shoot German or French shows with lights and cameras on, so we can create global and local content,” notes Reif. “As we grow, we’ll see more opportunities to take a global service and localize it. It will be more attractive for tennis fans.
Plans for this year include launches in the UK and Australia, keeping the service on a positive path despite the turbulent times.
“We’re really excited about how far we’ve come in the crazy amount of time we’ve launched a subscription service, a fast 24-hour channel in Germany and then the UK,” says Reif. “And what’s gratifying is the response we got from German tennis fans when we wowed them with content they hadn’t seen before. We develop and develop a mix of global and local stories. “
The revamped NBA app offers live game customization, new original content from Bally Sports+, which launches widely as a live game in the market, Step Forward Tennis Channel at the Australian Open 2020 as the fastest growing television network in the United States . Due to the coronavirus epidemic, the Indian Wells tennis tournament was canceled later in March, which caused a domino effect on the professional tennis field.
But with tournament-sanctioned tournaments running through July 13, the resurgence of live tennis has suddenly breathed new life into the Tennis Channel and its millions of viewers.
“We’ve been preparing for this moment our whole lives,” said Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon. “It’s very exciting to make sure from the ground up that players are protected from liability, to take that to people on all platforms.”
Tennis Channel last aired May 8-10 in Fla. The UTR Pro Match Series, the two-day men’s tennis tournament in West Palm Beach, has been released. The show featured upcoming international players such as world number 29 Hubert Hurkacz and world number 49 Miomir Kecmanovic. , and young Americans Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul. Unlike the exhibition tournaments, the quartet played for prizes and results in each player’s Universal Tennis Rating (UTR).
The event provided a glimpse into the current state of tennis. This included increased screening, cleaning and social distancing precautions for everyone involved. All matches were played on a private pitch with no spectators or public access. All four players had to provide their own drinks, towels and were given their own marked balls to use during the match.
For the UTR Pro Match Series, the Tennis Channel has adapted accordingly. The network has relied heavily on its equipment to keep its four field employees on the job, while 98% of other employees have been working from home since mid-March.
The Tennis Channel broadcast the two-day event using two 24-foot wide-lens cameras located outside the court, offering a different, closer perspective than what viewers are used to seeing on television. Two robotic cameras were trained on each player from the middle of the tennis court, and a hand-held camera recorded footage from the other side. A drone camera was also used to film highlights and track player inputs, and all contestants wore headsets to communicate with the network’s studios during the game.
On the technical side, Solomon says Tennis Channel has been unwittingly preparing for full remote production for 15 years. When the network started, it attracted about 200 people to broadcast major events like the French Open; He now has a state-of-the-art studio in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida with remote production capabilities.
“This preparation has culminated in the opportunity to bring live professional sports back to a wider American audience through the tennis format,” he said.
Unlike other sports where space is minimal, tennis is less dangerous. The players are usually 60 meters apart and separated by a net that does not allow them to pass. In the courtroom, only one judge sits on a high chair
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