About five months after sealing the deal to purchase the Tennis Channel for $350 million, Sinclair Broadcast Group has expanded the sports network’s reach to 47 million households according to measurement company comScore, with an eye toward more than 60 million homes by 2017.
The increases are the result of several distribution deals Sinclair has made since closing the deal in March. In announcing the deal, Sinclair said it had secured deals to expand Tennis Channel’s reach by about 20 million homes, from its base at the time of about 30 million homes. Since then, Sinclair said Tennis Channel was available in about 37 million homes in February, its last full month as an independent network.
Earlier this month Sinclair EVP and chief operating officer David Amy said the sports channel added about 1 million new customers through its carriage deal with Charter Communications. Sinclair said in a statement that the Tennis Channel is carried on expanded basic or digital basic packages on Bright House, Dish Network, Frontier, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable and Cable One, with similar rollouts planned for AT&T U-verse, Buckeye, Comcast, DirecTV, Mediacom, Cincinnati Bell and WOW!
That number could get even larger as the network heads toward its eighth consecutive year of coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, which began today (Aug. 29).
"Today represents a tipping point for Tennis Channel, as our expanded carriage on basic packages strengthens the network in every way, finally leveling the playing field," said Tennis Channel president Ken Solomon in a statement. "In addition to driving exponential ad sales and affiliate revenues, this expansion offers the chance to grow our already comprehensive domestic and worldwide rights portfolio and advance the sport's overall awareness in the United States. As home to over 90 percent of American tennis on TV and industry-leading mobile and TV Everywhere applications, Tennis Channel is already positioned as the undisputed media home of the sport in our country, and we're now poised to deliver even more high-quality round-the-clock coverage and scale our business dramatically for years to come." The network has covered the US Open since 2009, and this year will feature a two-hour daily lead-in show, all-night encore matches and a new nightly program hosted by popular sports journalist Mary Carillo. Tennis Channel's on-air talent roster includes Hall of Famers Martina Navratilova, Jim Courier, Tracy Austin and Lindsay Davenport, among other award-winning announcers, writers and historians.