For us here at Switch TV, tennis is a really interesting topic when you consider the impact of Pay TV. For most sports, the rise of pay TV channels has meant increasing costs for customers to watch more or less the same competitions, albeit with expanded coverage. With tennis, other than Wimbledon, which is (spoiler alert) always on the BBC, having the ability to buy extra channels means now the whole annual calendar is available to watch live for tennis fans in the UK. Much more content in exchange for your subscription.
But what packages do you need? Check out our guide below.
As I said in the introduction, Wimbledon is one of those national institutions, where many people who never watch or play tennis tune in every Summer and end up glued to their screen for 2 weeks non-stop. The BBC showing Wimbledon is actually the longest partnership in sports broadcasting history dating back to 1927 – great quiz question if that ever comes up! The deal was extended recently until 2024 and we don’t expect that to change any time soon.
The other grand slams
Of course there are 3 other grand slams each year – the bad news is that the rights are split up across a few different providers. First up is Amazon Prime Video, who have the US Open signed up until 2022. The French Open is across both ITV and Eurosport, will both showing live matches on their channels. This deal is up for renewal in 2021. Finally the Australian Open is live on Eurosport, again until 2021 though BBC have rights to the highlights there.
The ATP tour
As those in the game will know, the mens and womens tours are run separately, with the mens tour known as ATP (confusing this stands for the Association of Tennis Professionals) and the womens tour known as WTA (Women’s Tennis Association). Because of this, the rights with TV providers are managed separately too.
Amazon Prime took it’s first major foray into TV in the UK by acquiring the rights to the ATP tour until 2022 – showing the matches on their online player, app and TV service. Despite some early glitches, it’s worked pretty well. For more information about how to show the likes of Amazon on your big TV, check out our guide here. Eurosport also has live coverage of 3 ATP events per year available too, though this is only until 2020.
Every year the top 8 players from the ATP tour meet at the finals event – a week long knock-out tournament. Since 2009 it’s been hosted at the o2 in London, which is a brilliant venue (having been there to watch matches there myself). TV rights for the finals are again on Amazon Prime Video with a deal running to 2022, with the afternoon matches and the final also on the BBC until at least 2020.
As I said earlier, the WTA TV rights are owned and bid for separate to the ATP. Up until recently, BT Sport had exclusive rights to the WTA, in fact alongside Premier League football and Premiership rugby, the WTA was one of the big rights used to launch BT Sport’s channels.
However, Amazon Prime swooped in last year and sealed an exclusive deal for the WTA to go alongside their ATP coverage, with a 5 year deal running from 2020-24.
The Davis Cup is where tennis goes international, with players from each of the nations competing together in both singles and doubles matches. Think Andy Murray vs. Rafal Nadal, with Britain vs. Spain at the same time!
Whilst there are lots of qualifying matches during the year (with rights done individually), Eurosport currently has the rights for the finals until 2020, so we expect some movement and news about future rights in the next few months.
Who has what then?
We thought a little table might help so you can see who has what at the moment;
|Wimbledon||The other grand slams||Mens ATP Tour||Mens ATP Finals||Womens WTA Tour||Davis Cup finals|
|Amazon Prime Video Add logo||US Open||All events live||All matches live||All events live|
|Eurosport Add logo||Daily highlights until 2020||French Open Australian Open||3 events per year||All finals events|
|ITV Add logo||French Open|
|BBC Add logo||All live matches||Australian Open (highlights only)||All afternoon matches and the final live|
Want to find the perfect package to watch live tennis at home?
Switch TV has a unique channel and programme finder – it’ll give you a great package for the TV you want to watch. Just enter your chosen providers (e.g. “Premiership”) into our handy tool here and we’ll do the rest!