Tennis Channel, the US network dedicated to the sport, has secured rights in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland to the next two years of women’s tennis’ WTA Tour.
The channel, run by the Sinclair Broadcast Group (the US' largest television station owner), will broadcast all WTA 1,000, 500, and 250 events, as well as the end-of-year WTA Finals, during the course of the deal.
In the Netherlands, rights will be shared with Ziggo, the Dutch pay-television operator.
The deal sees Tennis Channel expands its existing deal with the WTA. It is already the main broadcast partner for the tour in the US.
DAZN, the international over-the-top subscription platform, was the previous dominant WTA rights-holder across Europe.
Ken Solomon, Tennis Channel’s president, said: “Since our channel was founded almost two decades ago, we have always prepared for global expansion.
“We have worked with the WTA and tennis decision-makers to test the thesis that the sport competes better when a series of media platforms of the same name allows fans to experience it as it is played around the planet every day of the year.”
Micky Lawler, the WTA’s president, added: “I cannot say yet that this is the beginning of a global strategy, but I would not rule it out … We have great faith in what we can do together.”
Tennis Channel launched its European streaming channel in April 2020, initially in the three DACH countries listed above before then expanding distribution to the UK, Greece, India, and the Netherlands.
As well as the media rights element of the deal, the arrangement also means Tennis Channel will secure access to content created by Stats Perform, the official data and statistics supplier for the WTA Tour.
In December last year, international pay-TV operator BeIN Sports renewed its rights to the WTA Tour in Australia, France, and Turkey until 2026.
The five-year extension, which comes into effect in 2022, includes all WTA Tour events on the calendar, ending with the traditional end-of-season WTA Finals, and also gives BeIN full social and digital clip rights on its platforms.
The renewal was struck with WTA Media, the production arm and media rights distributor of the tour.
WTA Media was created in 2015 as a joint venture between the WTA and digital sports content and media company Perform Group (now DAZN Group) as a hub to produce all of WTA’s 54 premier and international tournaments and distribute the rights in the international marketplace.