With ESPN having agreed to televise Wimbledon through 2023, there has been some uncertainty regarding Tennis Channel’s ongoing association with the event.
ESPN executive John Skipper told reporters Tuesday that he met with Tennis Channel chairman and CEO Ken Solomon while in London, and that ESPN has “indicated an interest to continue working with” Tennis Channel on coverage of Wimbledon.
Skipper said the success of Tennis Channel is “advantageous” to ESPN. “The more people that watch tennis throughout the year helps build an audience for the big events, which is where we’re principally at. So we’ve generally found cooperating with the Tennis Channel to be in our self interest” (ESPN, 7/5).
Currently, Tennis Channel airs coverage of the Australian Open and U.S. Open as part of a sub-licensing agreement with ESPN, and ESPN airs coverage of the French Open as part of a sub-licensing agreement with Tennis Channel.
During the previous Wimbledon contract, ESPN and Tennis Channel held separate rights deals for the event. Tennis Channel agreed to a six-year deal with Wimbledon in 2007, but there was no information about the current status of that deal.
All England Club CEO Ian Ritchie seemed uncertain about Tennis Channel’s status. “We’ve still got some conversations to have with [Tennis Channel],” Ritchie told reporters during Tuesday’s ESPN conference call, “they’ve been a very good partner that we’ve dealt with over the last few years, and we would hope … to see if we can find a continuing arrangement with them.”
(Information from espnmediazone3.com)