Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon said he expects continued growth in 2014 thanks to the creation of new franchises, an expanded audience and the use of a brand new studio.
“We just came out of a watershed year,” Mr. Solomon said, according to an interview conducted by the industry insider Cynopsis Sports. “And yet we’ve proven that our eyes are on the dashboard as opposed to the rearview mirror. A lot happened last year and it’s preparing us to be able to consolidate for an audience of an entire sport better than ever before.”
Last week, the network announced it was expanding former American tennis player Jim Courier’s role, which includes coverage of additional tournaments. The network will feature more than 180 hours of content covering the Australian Open.
Mr. Solomon says the network is now in about 36 million homes, and ranked in the top five of all cable networks for a majority of its coverage of the 2013 French Open — evidence that there “was a need for a full-time presence to cover this sport and frankly, that wasn’t nearly enough to cover everything they have going on.
“This is what multi-platform and authentication is all about and technology is finally catching up with our sport, culminating in 2013 when we consolidated 90% of all the tennis hours on air onto one platform so we launched Tennis Channel Everywhere that debuted to strong success … we are now already in over 50% of our footprint in homes activated for this and for the first time in history, people have a chance to follow tennis the way it was meant to be seen, delivering as much as they want. It is the original binge viewing and there is always another match. For us, mobile is the only way and any active professional can follow it.”
Mr. Solomon said the network will formulate new franchises in the new year, but that it will continue to build success off the launch of its new, state-of-the-art studio. “Now we can give the same kind of treatment that we give to a major, because we have a studio that will elevate the presentation and the sport,” he said.