Summer of Tennis set to sizzle…

It is nearly that time of year again when the best tennis players in the world descend on Australia for the summer of tennis and the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. Broadcasting all the action again in 2012 from Melbourne Park will be the Seven Network. Seven’s Summer of tennis however begins on January 2 with coverage of the Brisbane International, followed by coverage of the Sydney International and AAMI Classic in the lead up to the Australian Open beginning on January 16.

In a new scheduling format for Seven’s coverage in 2012, all Australian Open lead-up events including the Brisbane International, Sydney International and AAMI Classic, will be broadcast exclusively on Seven’s digital channel 7Two, whilst the Australian Open will be broadcast on Seven’s primary channel and only on 7Two where there is a clash with news on the primary channel.

Seven’s coverage will be headed by JOHANNA GRIGGS, MATT WHITE and HAMISH MCLACHLAN with BRUCE McAVANEY in the commentary chair and expert commentary from four-time Grand Slam champion JIM COURIER, JOHN NEWCOMBE and former British No.1 SAM SMITH. Joining them in the commentary box will be TODD WOODBRIDGE, HENRI LECONTE, NICOLE BRADTKE, RENNAE STUBBS, SANDY ROBERTS, JOHN FITZGERALD, ROGER RASHEED, ALLAN STONE, GEOFF MASTERS and KERRYN PRATT.

A summary of coverage details for each market can be found here in Seven’s Tennis Media Kit.

After shifting some tennis coverage this year to 7Two due to rolling coverage of the Brisbane floods and later in the year for Davis Cup coverage where it clashed with V8 Supercars coverage on Seven, it will be interesting to compare the 2011 viewing figures of the lead up tournaments, which were predominately broadcast on Seven as opposed to exclusively on 7Two in 2012. With 92% of households digital TV capable and the success of Wimbledon on 7Two the difference in viewership figures should be negligible.

Also Fox Sports under an agreement struck with Seven at the end of 2010 will again be the Subscription Broadcaster of the Australian Open in 2012. As reported by Frost Global last year under the broadcast agreement Seven has exclusive access to matches on Rod Laver Arena, as well as live and delayed rights on all Courts. Meanwhile Fox Sports will has live access to all matches played on courts other than Rod Laver Arena. Fox Sports has been heavily promoting that its 2012 coverage will feature tennis legend John McEnroe in its commentary team. McEnroe previously commentated for Seven at the Open before Seven hired the likeable Jim Courier.

Fox Sports will also cover it seems the World Tennis Challenge from Adelaide. Check out the Fox Sports John McEnroe commercial below.

There will also be coverage of the Hyundai Hopman Cup from Perth, which for the second year in a row will be broadcast by ONE from New Year’s Eve.

Rounding out coverage of the Australian Summer of Tennis will be coverage of the Morilla International from Hobart, where fans can watch free live online streaming of all centre court matches. The online coverage will be hosted by Peter Marcato and feature special guest commentator Casey Dellacqua for the semifinals and final.

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