SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S BNP PARIBAS OPEN IS BACK,
LIVE IN ITS ENTIRETY ON TENNIS CHANNEL FOR THE FIRST TIME
Cancellation of Prestigious Event in March 2020
Ushered in Sports Shutdown in Wake of Pandemic
Tennis Channel will Show First Ball through Championship Point Live on Television, Digital Tennis Channel Plus and Bally Sports Regional Networks,
as Competition Returns to Indian Wells, Calif., after Two-and-a-Half-Year Hiatus
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4, 2021 – Tennis Channel and its affiliated platforms will be the only places to watch the prestigious BNP Paribas Open – known as one of the sport’s “Fifth Slams” – when it returns to Indian Wells, Calif., October 6-17, after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus due to the worldwide pandemic. This will mark the first time in the network’s 18-year history that it will be home to the entire event, from first ball to last. While Tennis Channel has held the lion’s share of live coverage for many years, in 2021 it will add championship weekend and all matches to its lineup.
The milestone comes with the BNP Paribas Open’s return to the tennis calendar after missing its usual place in March the past two years. On the eve of the 2020 tournament, with COVID-19 cases rapidly expanding in the United States, the cancellation of the event for the first time in its history was the first in a domino effect that saw the unprecedented shutdown of amateur and professional sports activity across the country within days for health and safety purposes. Though not being held in the springtime this year, the 2021 BNP Paribas Open in October is, for some, a long-awaited restoration of that original American sports-landscape loss and a much-needed balm.
From Opening Day Wednesday, Oct. 6, to Championship Sunday, Oct. 17, Tennis Channel will be the round-the-clock home of the BNP Paribas Open, with live 12-hour blocks most days followed by all-night encore replays. In all, the network plans 120 live hours of coverage on air, with another 145 hours of encores for close to 170 hours overall from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Streaming service Tennis Channel Plus will offer live men’s and women’s competition daily and on-demand matches throughout the event, including the opportunity for subscribers to choose from multiple courts each day.
Live coverage begins Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 1 p.m. ET, and will run through approximately 1 a.m. ET (complete schedule below). Encores will air from 1 a.m. ET to 1 p.m. ET. The schedule will be similar throughout the event, with telecasts starting every day at 1 p.m. ET other than Championship Sunday, Oct. 17, when the women’s singles final begins at 4 p.m. ET and the men’s singles final takes place at 7 p.m. ET.
Tennis Channel Live at the BNP Paribas Open will introduce each day’s coverage at 1 p.m. ET daily except for Championship Sunday, Oct. 17, when it will take place between the women’s and men’s singles finals. Hosted by announcer Steve Weissman (@steve_weissman), the hour-long show will feature commentary, opinion and special reports from on-air team members, along with interviews and guest appearances. The network’s on-site studio is based inside the tournament’s main court, Stadium 1, with a wide, glass backdrop overlooking the spectator viewing section on the lawn below.
Parent-company Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Bally Sports regional networks (RSNs) will also provide live coverage seven of the BNP Paribas Open’s 12 days, making more of the tournament available on television than ever before. Starting at 2 p.m. ET daily, from Thursday, Oct. 7, to Wednesday, Oct. 13, the RSNs will have access to four-hour blocks of exclusive matches from courts that will not appear on Tennis Channel. Fans will be able to choose between two different live matches on Tennis Channel or their regional sports network during these time periods.