Tennis Channel has expanded its rights agreement for 2018 and 2019 with the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships and, for the first time, will broadcast the entire event live from Houston beginning Monday, April 9, at 4 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel will have nearly 50 hours of live television coverage during the week. The network’s digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus, will carry another 30 hours of exclusive live matches from Court 3. Beginning in 1910, the event is the fourth-oldest domestic event on the tour. The network has carried the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships since 2004.
As with the sport’s most important events – like the French Open and BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. – Tennis Channel will dedicate daylong blocks to live wall-to-wall coverage in Houston, offer immediate encores following live play and have a Tennis Channel Live desk on the tournament grounds for player interviews. In recent years, the network has expanded this level of national exposure to events like the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., and Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C., which has led to higher ticket sales, increased sponsorship revenue and greater overall awareness for these events.
“This opportunity to partner with Tennis Channel for a full week of coverage of our tournament is something that is unique among ATP 250 events and, I believe, elevates us to the next level,” said tournament director Bronwyn Greer. “We’re excited that tennis fans around the country will be able to view all the action from our beautiful and historic venue at River Oaks, and we look forward to the added energy on the grounds as players are that much more accessible to the fans when they visit the Tennis Channel Live desk in the Opportune Player’s Corner.”
Tennis Channel’s on-air team in Houston features announcers Brett Haber and Leif Shiras. Coach and former player Paul Annacone, who defeated Shiras in the first round of the 1989 doubles competition and 2000 U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships doubles finalist Justin Gimelstob will provide analysis.
“This event has such a deep history and it’s great to be with Tennis Channel covering the entire week this year,” said Annacone. “So many of the sport’s best players have competed in Houston, I can’t wait to see how it plays out this year.”
Since its inception, the tournament has seen numerous Hall of Famers and stars win the event including: Jimmy Connors (1974, 1976,1978-79), Andre Agassi (1988, 2003), Jim Courier (1998), Andy Roddick (2001-02, 2005), Bill Tilden (1918, 1922-27) and Arthur Ashe (1967). The tournament has been in 21 different host cities, with Houston becoming its home in 2001. River Oaks Country Club, which has held tournaments since 1931, has hosted this event, the last remaining domestic men’s clay court tournament, since 2008.
Several American former champions, including John Isner, Jack Sock, 2017 title holder Steve Johnson and six-time champion doubles twins Bob and Mike Bryan, will be in the draw. Also in this year’s field is 2015 Australian Open quarterfinalist Nick Kyrgios, 2014 U.S. Men’s Clay Court champion Fernando Verdasco, two-time Houston finalist Sam Querrey and Americans Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz. In all, more than 10 Americans are in the draw.
Along with additional exclusive live coverage, Tennis Channel Plus will have on-demand replays of every match carried on Tennis Channel and on Tennis Channel Plus. Tennis Channel Plus is available to everyone in the United States regardless of whether they have a subscription to Tennis Channel.
Tennis Channel’s Live U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships Coverage Schedule
Monday, April 9: First Round
Tuesday, April 10: First Round
Wednesday, April 11: Second Round
Thursday, April 12: Second Round
Friday, April 13: Quarterfinals
Saturday, April 14: Semifinals, Doubles Final
Sunday, April 15: Final