Tennis Channel has stepped onto the branded merchandise court.
With the U.S. Open set to begin on Aug. 26, the network has opened an online store in conjunction with Delivery Agent, with the partners offering branded Tennis Channel T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, magnets and phone covers, among other products, ranging in price from $9.95 to $49.95.
The new online store can be accessed via www.tennischannel.com and www.shopthetv.com. Tennis Channel fans can also access the ShopTV application that has been preloaded in 2012 and 2013 Samsung Smart TVs. The companies, without disclosing the share, are splitting the revenue derived from the product sales.
Tennis Channel will televise 70 hours of live U.S. Open coverage and 270 hours overall from Flushing Meadows at the final Grand Slam of the season
The doubles action with Delivery Agent is the initial foray by Tennis, which has bestowed branded merchandise upon key business partners over the years, into the consumer product realm.
“This marks phase one of our branded merchandise strategy,” said Tennis executive director of digital Josh Ross, who noted the network has sold some memorabilia around the sport in the past. “Fans have been asking about Tennis Channel product for a while.”
In addition to expanding its line in the months ahead, Tennis is eyeing more commerce outlets in 2014.
Ross said the company plans to give users watching clips or live tennis on the network’s website the ability to purchase items sported by the players, whether rackets, shirt, bag or warm-up outfit. “There will be a slide-out with a description of the merchandise and the price from which the user will be able to order,” he explained.
Ross noted that for the most part Delivery Agent will execute the deals with the equipment/clothing manufacturers, except perhaps where Tennis has already established relationships with retailers like Tennis Warehouse and Tennis Express, both long-time advertisers on the network.
Following the expansion of its online retailing store, Ross said Tennis would look to establish second-screen applications, where a bug would appear on the linear network that could prompt viewers to go to smartphones to purchase items.
Delivery Agent's proprietary technology allows viewers to transact directly from advertisements and television shows through web, mobile, and advanced television applications. To date, the San Francisco-headquartered company said it has enabled more than 700,000 hours of programming and advertisements resulting in more than 200 million engagements and 10 million transactions. The company has long-term partnerships with NBC, Fox CBS, HBO, Showtime, Pepsi, Visa, Comcast, Cablevision, AT&T, Verizon and Samsung, among others