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Tennis Channel Partners with Samsung TV Plus to Launch its First FAST Channel in the U.S.

FAST
(Image credit: Tennis Channel)

LOS ANGELES—Tennis Channel and Samsung’s free streaming service, Samsung TV Plus have teamed up to launch T2, Tennis Channel’s first free ad-supported TV (FAST) offering in the United States and Samsung TV Plus’s first channel to offer year-round live sports competition. T2, which features matches and original programming not featured on Tennis Channel, T2 is now available to all Samsung TV Plus users with 2017-or-newer Samsung smart TVs and Galaxy mobile devices.

Tennis Channel, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, says it new, youth-oriented channel is distinct from its linear television network, online platforms and print magazine in its content, tone, look and feel. T2 will include matches from the men’s and women’s professional tennis tours—the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association—as well as select matches from the French Open and International Tennis Federation events. In addition to on-court competition, other programming includes original short-form features and documentaries exclusive to T2.

The launch is just the latest in a trend of bringing traditional, linear type TV programming to a generation raised on on-demand streaming. The market for FAST channels is expected to grow from $2.1 billion in 2021 to $4.1 billion in 2023, according to a recent study by Verizon Media, which also found that monthly active users will hit 216 million in 2023.

“The demand for top-level sports programming has grown even stronger as media platforms continue to evolve, and we couldn’t be happier to usher in T2, our new FAST standard, with Samsung TV Plus,” said Ken Solomon, president, Tennis Channel. “Thanks to the voluminous live-match content unique to tennis—daily, global events around the clock with often overlapping multi-court coverage—T2 lets millions of Americans watch live tennis from many of the world’s top events, all year long. There are more great matches than we can fit on Tennis Channel, making T2 and Samsung TV Plus’ innovative platform the perfect complement. It allows us to attract even more viewers to the game in an exciting new way, rising the tide for tennis fans, our existing distribution partners and the game’s stakeholders everywhere.”

Tennis Channel FAST channels are currently available on Samsung TV Plus in Austria, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom—though they are programmed and designed separately from the new American channel. T2 expands that reach to the large U.S. marketplace and comes during one of the most important months on the annual tennis calendar.

“We are excited to partner with Sinclair and welcome T2, the destination to watch live marquee tennis matches from around the world, exclusively on Samsung TV Plus,” said Takashi Nakano, senior director of content acquisitions and business development for Samsung TV Plus. “Adding live sports to our lineup gives our viewers even more choice and that’s what Samsung TV Plus is all about.”

Tennis Channel’s domestic FAST channel on Samsung TV Plus is the latest platform in the network’s continuing media expansion. In recent years, this has included a podcast network, print magazine, youth-oriented digital newsletter and streaming-subscription service in marketplaces outside the country. At the same time, the channel has become the exclusive television and digital home of both the men’s and women’s professional tours in the United States.

Tom Butts
Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.