After recently signing a deal with Comedy Central to handle affiliate sales,
The Tennis Channel has retained Sports Marketing Partners to serve as its
ad-sales rep for non-tennis-industry clients.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
SMP and its 17-person sales staff will line up sponsors for Tennis prior to
the service's planned launch this fall.
The rep firm has already begun making sales pitches to prospects, including
some targeting women, Tennis CEO David Meister said. The cable network will
announce some initial sponsorships 'in a week or two,' he added.
SMP was recently formed by Horizon Media Inc., a media-buying service, and
several former CBS and Group W executives, including David Hall, former
president of CBS Cable's TNN: The Nashville Network (now The National Network)
and Country Music Television; Lloyd Werner, former CBS Cable executive vice
president of sales and marketing; Bob Kunath, ex-senior VP and general manager
of Group W Sports Marketing; and Peter Weisbard, who served as senior CP of ad
sales for CBS Cable.
The agency's client base includes the Women's United Soccer Association -
which will shift its games this season from Turner Network Television and CNN/SI
to Pax TV -- the National Basketball Development League and 14
SMP 'gives us an A-plus team in the field immediately at a fraction of what
it would cost us to do it all by ourselves,' Tennis president Steve Bellamy said
in a prepared statement.