Pay-TV operator ESPN has tied up a deal for exclusive rights to 19 of the biggest men’s tennis tournaments, in a major boost for its recently-launched local website.
The new, five-year ESPN deal with ATP Media for the rights in Australia and New Zealand comes as Australia’s Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios look set to rise up the rankings, and will see the channel broadcast, exclusively, all ATP World Tour Masters’ 1000 and 500 events.
The deal also includes digital rights for all tournaments, giving ESPN more highlights to roll-out across its newly-launched localised ESPN.com offering, which was launched last week, as the US-based broadcaster looks to extend its Australian presence.
Last week the site also signed a deal with the International Cricket Council to provide live, on-demand clips of events across its websites, including the World Twenty20, which starts this week in India, through to the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
The new localised site aims to provide coverage of sports it owns rights to – including basketball, rugby union, football and tennis – as well as coverage of sports it does not have permission to show in Australia, such as AFL and NRL.
ESPN has signed a number of Australian sporting talent for its new localised site
To that end it has signed talent including former Australia cricket vice-captain Brad Haddin, current St Kilda AFL captain Nick Riewoldt, NRL premiership winner Brett Kimmorley and two-time AFL premiership winner Jude Bolton, to produce content for the site.
Peatey: the channel is off “to a good start”
ESPN’s director of digital products, Lance Peatey, told Mumbrella the channel was off to a good start, flagging a large amount of traffic coming from sharing across social channels.
He added: “We carry the same tennis rights in the US so we have all the relevant video being cut there and it can be pushed out to our local edition now as well.
“We’ll be focusing on the rising stars of Aussie tennis, including Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, and we’ll be honing in on them for the local market, in particular.”
He also pointed to ESPN’s upcoming coverage of the Olympics, with the channel acting as rights-holding broadcaster in some regions – meaning it will have “massive scale” on the ground there; coverage it will be able to include on the new site.
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