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The WTA have aggregated the majority of its international broadcast rights under one umbrella, and will be producing for television every singles match at every tournament.
So if a big star loses in an early round, or you want to follow a lesser-known female player who is unlikely to make it to the latter stages of a WTA event, you wouldn’t expect to find it on TV.But that is going to change come next season as the WTA have signed a five-year multi-territory deal with be IN Sports that will allow the network to have access to four times as many matches as it does right now.The agreement gives be IN broadcast rights for all WTA tournaments, including 21 Premier events, the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and 28 International-level tournaments in over 30 territories worldwide including Spain, the USA, Australia and the MENA region.It comes after another big move in the world of tennis from be IN, who have secured the rights for Wimbledon this year, after outbidding previous holders, Abu Dhabi Sports.“Now we’ve stepped up our game, and our mandate is that every main draw singles match is produced across every tournament and we’ve increased our number of minimum World Feed matches across every tournament,” WTA Media managing director John Learing (right) told Sport360.“So someone like be IN will be able to access almost four times as many matches as they currently are able to.” According to Learing, the be IN agreement will allow the WTA to reach more diverse demographics and potentially increase the fan-base in key markets such as the United States and France.
The deal ties in with the start of the WTA’s new partnership with leading digital sports content and media group, Perform, creating WTA Media – the tour’s dedicated media arm.
The live media rights and production deal is worth $525m over 10 years (from 2017 to 2026), the largest in the history of women’s sports.
It’s no secret that women’s tennis gets less air time than the men’s on television in the Gulf region.
And while you can easily catch an ATP first round in Halle or Queen’s, finding a Serena Williams opener at a WTA tournament live on TV here is often a fool’s errand.
The reason is that the current deal between the WTA and be IN Sports – the main rights-holder in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region – only mandates that the network air the matches from the quarter-finals onwards of Premier-level tournaments.
That means a maximum of seven women’s matches are broadcast on be IN from one tournament.