WTA to Squeeze More Money from Tennis Fans via WTA TV

by Jeremy Davis | July 27th, 2017, 3:09 pm

It’s not bad enough the WTA tour made a “major” deal with erstwhile soccer channel beIN Sports, which tennis fans need to pay a premium to see on their cable or satellite subscriptions.
This week the WTA announced “WTA TV,” a livestreaming service which, once you pay even more, you can watch women’s tennis.

The service launches on July 31 for a $9.99 monthly pass or $74.99 for a year pass.

We’ll pass. Our cable bill is huge enough as is.

“Fans want more content and 24/7 access,” says embattled WTA CEO Steve Simon, who has overseen the beIN deal and a terrible WTA website overhaul in his brief tenure. “We are investing heavily to develop a strong digital eco-system that caters for the new ways fans are consuming WTA related content. Our goal is to provide fans the means to follow the tour and to watch WTA matches on the best screen available to them.”

And to squeeze out that cash.

The best screens available lately are ESPN3, streaming live, free coverage of the ATP Atlanta event this week, and Tennis Channel shows lots of men’s tennis but very little women’s due to the terrible beIN deal.

Unless you get beIN Sports, you’re not seeing any of the two WTA tournaments this week. Even if you do have beIN Sports, the prime coverage is on the pay-tier beIN Sports 9, beIN Sports 10, etc. packages.

People used to wonder how tennis would fare years back when it was taken off the major networks and relegated ESPN and cable networks. Now you can figure out how women’s tennis will fare when the majority is taken off cable and available primarily only on pay networks, except for the Grand Slams and some US Open Series events. The pro-argument is a new generation watching on phones and other screens — but will they pay to watch?

Sounds like a recipe for further lowering the viewership of women’s tennis, at least in the U.S. Soon you can group those ratings with racquetball and poker. Actually you’ll probably hope you can get poker ratings.

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11 Comments for WTA to Squeeze More Money from Tennis Fans via WTA TV

KG Says:

Like everything in life, it all depends on what you want. Personally, paying $75 a year is good for me. I will be able to see every WTA tournament that is played all year. Combine ESPN and the Tennis Channel and you will miss the majority of the tournaments held each year. And that was before the Bein Sports deal that was made.

So the WTA channel is a great deal for people who want to see the women play all year instead of a few select tournaments. Sign me up.

Markus Says:

I don’t even know who are the top 3 women players.

Humble Rafa Says:

I don’t even know who are the top 3 women players.

You also don’t know English grammar.

Don’t worry, I have 10 FOs, I still can’t speak or write good English or French, for that matter.

Uncle Toni passed 6th grade, a huge accomplishment in our extended family.

Markus Says:

HR, that sentence is grammatically correct. You can put the are in the end if you want but where I placed it is just as correct. You have limited knowledge of English grammar and just demonstrated your lack of knowledge on the variability of sentence construction.

the_mind_reels Says:

TennisTV is the same thing for the ATP, and it’s more expensive at $99/year. I’m with KG that more content available to consumers is a good thing. I happen to think $99/year for me is worth it because streaming tournaments live online is terrible and nobody else picks up the smaller tournaments as well as TennisTV.

At least they are trying to make the WTA more widely accessible!

RZ Says:

Just to clarify, ESPN3 is only free for those who have a cable package that includes ESPN. But yes, their streaming provides good, inexpensive coverage (assuming you are already paying for cable).

Pamela Says:

Personally, I don’t like streaming. I have a lap top and it is not the best. Watching on it is not fun for me. I live in southern california and have the tennis channel. We, of course have ESPN. I have never signed up for Tennis Channel Plus for the extra $99 (or whatever it is per year) b/c except for the slams, what is the benefit? I was very bummed when they took the WTA away from Tennis channel and ESPN. For me, although I do enjoy women’s tennis and (being in the minority look forward to Maria coming back) not sure I want to be paying an additional $75 per year. The channel they moved women’s tennis to does have soccer on the majority of the time. I used to get that channel for free. Now, they make us pay for it. I thought that move would lose women’s tennis a lot of viewers

chrisford1 Says:

Problem I see is greedy players, owners, and media execs want to make much money and think they have a viable solution in making tennis a boutique sports, affordable to watch for a small demographic of fans who have the desire & surplus cash to watch.
And do this without consideration to growing the sport and leading poorer country’s people or developed nations people unfamiliar with the sport and present players ability – to watch a good number of matches. Maybe become fans.
4 Slams a year don’t work to achieve that end. Especially since 3 Slams are out of normal Asian viewing times (and gambling times). And people curious will not click to see the AO at 3am.

Tony N Says:

Humble Rafa: “I have 10 FOs…”
See link for what this means in ‘good’ English. It confirms that HR knows what he has (which is what we know he has). What’s amazing is that HR is even able to quantify what he has.

David Says:

I don’t get why sports cable programs are so damn expensive. NFL red zone, the other sports I love to watch is a small fortune. Part of me thinks that it should be cheaper for a more niche sport like women’s tennis…but for some reason that just seems to drive up the cost, not bring it down. 75 is expensive!

paulette mashaka Says:

This move, right now is bad for all tennis. One gets tired of watching the same men’s matches over and over on tennis channel. So, I’ve cut back immensely on my tennis watching time on the tennis channel. And bein sports is terrible, they just show the same matches over and over as well, driving me to the point of not watching tennis at all.

I don’t want to watch tennis on some streaming basis, and I definitely don’t like the idea of having to pay more money to watch tennis, the sports packages by the cable companies are already a rip-off in itself. I don’t have to pay extra to watch men and women’s golf, which I might be taking up pretty soon.

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