Sinclair Broadcast Group said it closed on its $350-million acquisition of Tennis Channel, a transaction that had quickly passed muster with the Federal Trade Commission. The broadcaster acquired the independently owned sports programmer with a plan to rapidly expand the channel's distribution via retransmission-consent negotiations that pay-TV distributors sign to carry Sinclair's 171 TV stations in 81 markets. When the deal was announced in January, Sinclair said it had already reached deals to add 20 million homes to the channel's prior base of about 30 million homes.
Ken Solomon, the Tennis Channel chairman and CEO, becomes president of the channel, which has about 100 employees, under the new ownership. He and the channel's Santa Monica, Calif.-based management team are staying on under Sinclair.
Tennis Channel launched May 15, 2003. The channel's next big tournament coverage kicks off with the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday, March 9, at Indian Wells, Calif.; followed by the Miami Open on March 23.