Tennis Channel announces that it has signed Jimmy Connors for its Wimbledon coverage which begins next Monday, June 21. As Tennis Channel is not the main U.S. cable rightsholder for the event, ESPN2 is, the network will air taped coverage at night with segments introduced by host Bill Macatee, Martina Navratilova and now Connors.
One interesting note is the fact that the press release mentions that during the first week of coverage, ESPN2 will preempted on certain days as it will be in World Cup coverage so ESPNU will take over airing matches. I’ll have more details on that coming up, so if you don’t have ESPN2, you may be SOL if you want to see live tennis coverage next week.
Here’s the Tennis Channel release mentioning Connors’ hiring.
JIMMY CONNORS JOINS TENNIS CHANNEL AS LEAD WIMBLEDON ANALYSTTennis Legend to Appear on Wimbledon Primetimewith Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, Host Bill MacateeLOS ANGELES, June 14, 2010 –Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, has signed tennis Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors to serve as a nightly analyst during the network’s upcoming Wimbledon coverage, June 21-30, 2010. The two-time Wimbledon winner will work with fellow legend Martina Navratilova and host Bill Macatee on the four-hour nightly tournament show Wimbledon Primetime, which begins Monday, June 21, at 7 p.m. ET.Connors, who marked his debut on Tennis Channel during the network’s inaugural US Open coverage in 2009, also renewed his broadcast arrangement with the channel for that competition in late August.“Martina, Bill and I had a great time on Tennis Channel during the US Open last summer,” said Connors. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to work with this team again at Wimbledon, and I look forward to reuniting with them in London in a few weeks.”Shot on an English pub-styled set at the All-England Lawn Tennis Association, Tennis Channel’s Wimbledon Primetime offers news, interviews, the day’s best plays, original features, previously unseen matches and coverage from around the hallowed tournament grounds. The bulk of the program is dedicated to the most important on-court action of that particular afternoon, utilizing the BBC television coverage and commentary that is widely renowned within the tennis community. Macatee and Navratilova have hosted the program since its 2008 inception.Tennis Channel will televise 40 hours of first-run Wimbledon Primetime for 10 nights at this year’s tournament, and another 40 hours of same-night, encore telecasts. The program will air each evening from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. ET, June 21-30. During the first week, June 21-27, the show’s encore presentation will immediately follow its first-run conclusion at 11 p.m. ET, and run through 3 a.m. ET. On June 28-30, Wimbledon Primetime’s encore presentation will air from 12 a.m.-4 a.m. ET.Leading up to Wimbledon Primetime each evening, ESPN2 will provide live, day-long action each weekday (sharing coverage with ESPNU the first week), plus select highlights programs, for a total of more than 100 hours of coverage.As with its inaugural US Open coverage in 2009, Tennis Channel will have the all-time men’s and women’s singles title holders on the same broadcast team in Connors and Navratilova, as they break down the on-court action and offer their respective insights to the 2010 crop of Wimbledon hopefuls.
In addition to its on-air coverage, Tennis Channel’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com, will enhance the network’s tournament offerings with columns from veteran tennis reporter Steve Flink and popular blogger James LaRosa, along with live scoring, polls, photo galleries and video highlights. Visitors will be able to view Wimbledon Primetime interviews and features, and take part in “Ask The Expert” Q&A sessions. The site will also offer access to Tennis Channel’s “London Calling” Wimbledon sweepstakes and the network’s free “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game.