|ESPN Secure Bold ATP & WTA Rights|
Friday, 30 March 2012 10:47
ESPN have signalled a statement of intent by signing the rights to 11 ATP World Tour 250 events during 2012, as well as three WTA tournaments, formally announcing themselves into the tennis world.
The move follows the broadcaster's recent acquisition of live darts and golf in the form of BDO World Professional Darts Championships, the Australian PGA Championship and the Australian Open. Since its launch, ESPN has brought coverage of more than 40 sports to fans in the UK and Ireland including football from Europe's leading competitions, including the Barclays Premier League and FA Cup, as well as top-flight English and French rugby union, and exclusive coverage of major American sports such as NFL, NBA, MLB and UFC.
Jeroen Oerlemans, Vice-President TV Channels, ESPN EMEA, said: 'As we continue to expand our content in the UK and Ireland, we're delighted to add outstanding tennis tournaments from the ATP and WTA circuits. Through ESPN.co.uk and other media around the world, ESPN has a long and extensive association with tennis that we will look to expand in the UK and Ireland as we broaden our range and depth of sports programming.'
ESPN's coverage of the ATP World Tour 250 begins in April with the US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston. Focus on the clay circuit continues in the first week of May with the Estoril Open in Portugal and the Serbia Open, which world number one Novak Djokovic won last year.
The week before the French Open will see ESPN's coverage from Open de Nice Cote D'Azur, which last year featured David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych, as players make their final preparations on clay before Roland Garros. Coverage continues with seven more tournaments from July to September.
ESPN will also have coverage of three WTA events - clay tournaments in Estoril and Strasbourg, and the season finale Tournament of Champions, which was won in 2011 by Serbian star Ana Ivanovic.