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TC to Televise Indian Wells Live First Ball to Championship Ball

Tennis Channel will televise the entire BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells live. EPA-EFE/MIKE NELSON
Tennis Channel will televise first ball to championship ball coverage of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

The prestigious BNP Paribas Open – known as one of the sport’s “Fifth Slams” – returns to Indian Wells, California October 6-17th, 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. 

From Opening Day Wednesday, October 6th, to Championship Sunday, October 17th, 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, October 6th, at 1 p.m. Eastern time, and will run through approximately 1 a.m. Eastern time. Encores will air from 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. The schedule will be similar throughout the event, with telecasts starting every day at 1 p.m. Eastern time other than Championship Sunday, October 17th, when the women’s singles final begins at 4 p.m. and the men’s singles final takes place at 7 p.m.

Tennis Channel Live at the BNP Paribas Open will introduce each day’s coverage at 1 p.m. ET daily except for Championship Sunday, October 17th, 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. daily, from Thursday, October 7th, to Wednesday, October 13th, 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.
Genie Bouchard will be part of Tennis Channel’s broadcast team for Indian Wells. EPA/JULIAN SMITH

On-Air Talent

Combined, the members of Tennis Channel’s 2021 BNP Paribas Open on-air team have won 14 championships in the Southern California desert. Hall of Famers Martina Navratilova (@Martina), Jim Courier and Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) return to the event in 2021 as Tennis Channel analysts. Navratilova won back-to-back singles championships in 1990 and 1991, while Courier took the singles and doubles crowns in 1991, and another singles title in 1993. Davenport claimed singles trophies in 1997 and 2000, and doubles victories in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003.

They will be joined by fellow analyst Chanda Rubin (@Chanda_Rubin), who won the event’s 1996 doubles championship. Former players James Blake (@JRBlake), Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone) and Prakash Amritraj (@PrakashAmritraj) are also back on Tennis Channel’s BNP Paribas Open on-air team. They will be joined by newcomer and current player Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard), who is recovering from shoulder surgery. This is Bouchard’s first time in Indian Wells as a part of the network’s analyst team. This summer she offered commentary for the network for the first time during coverage of events in Washington, Montreal and Toronto. Three-time ATP tournament winner Jan-Michael Gambill (@JanmikeGambill) has offered analysis for Tennis Channel multiple times in the past and will offer commentary for the Bally Sports regional networks’ matches at Indian Wells for the first time this year.

In addition to hosting Tennis Channel Live at the BNP Paribas Open, Weissman will anchor the network’s desk throughout the tournament.