Tennis Channel is stepping up its coverage game of the sport’s “fifth slams.”
This March, the network will offer 15 days and close to 170 hours of live coverage at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Sony Open in Miami, the sport’s two largest tournament fields outside the four Grand Slams -- Wimbledon, the Australian, French and U.S. Open. With daylong telecasts, encore replays and a new half-hour daily intro show from a set on the grounds of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the network will devote more than 340 total hours to both events this month, each of which has been referred to as “The Fifth Slam” of tennis.
The network began its coverage from Indian Wells on March 8, at 1:30 p.m. (ET), a day earlier than its previous BNP Paribas Open on-air schedule. It is the first of six consecutive days of 12-hour live tennis windows. The network is also introducing a half-hour lead-in show hosted by Brett Haber and Hall of Famer Tracy Austin. Akin to Tennis’ U.S. Open intro show, Live at the BNP Paribas Open will offer news, interviews, analysis and conversation, and feature regular appearances by other network on-air talent.
All told, Tennis will show almost 100 live hours from Indian Wells and more than 200 overall, given encore replays that run through both the men’s and women’s singles championships. ESPN2 is also in the coverage mix from Indian Wells, and will air the women’s and men’s finals, among other action.
Tennis’ coverage in Miami takes a similar court approach. Starting on Friday, March 22, and anchored by four consecutive days of 12.5-hour live match windows, Tennis will carry close to 70 live hours at the Sony Open this year. Encore replays expand the overall hours to 140, and run through the men’s and women’s singles semifinals. ESPN2 and CBS also will present coverage from the Miami event, which this year won't feature world No. 2 Roger Federer, who is spending time with his family.