World TeamTennis Finals to air live on NBC Sports Network

NEW YORK (September 10, 2012) – World TeamTennis, the coed professional tennis league co-founded by Billie Jean King, today announced an agreement to air the WTT Eastern Conference Championship and the WTT Finals on NBC Sports Network, Sept. 15-16.

NBC Sports Network will air six hours of coverage from the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, set for Sept. 14-16 at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.  The network will be the broadcast home for the Eastern Conference Championship on Sept. 15, and the WTT Finals on Sept. 16.  The Western Conference Championship on Sept. 14 and the Eastern Conference Championship on Sept. 15 will both be live streamed on WTT.com.

Leif Shiras will host the WTT broadcasts and will be joined by former WTT veteran Luke Jensen.

The WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO kicks off on Friday, Sept. 14, when the Orange County Breakers take on the Sacramento Capitals for the Western Conference title.  Action begins at 6:30 p.m. EDT and the match will be live streamed on WTT.com.

Venus Williams leads the undefeated Washington Kastles into the Eastern Conference Championship match against their rival New York Sportimes featuring Martina Hingis and John McEnroe on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 6:30 p.m. EDT.  The Kastles are riding a 30-match win streak, the second longest in U.S. pro sports team history.  Washington won the 2011 title with the first undefeated 16-0 record in WTT history.  The Eastern Conference final will air on NBC Sports Network at 12:30 a.m. EDT / 9:30 p.m. PDT that evening and will be live streamed on WTT.com.

The two Conference Champions will face off on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3:30 p.m. EDT, in the WTT Finals which will air live on NBC Sports Network.  All four teams have won at least one WTT title, with the Sacramento Capitals leading the way with a League-record six titles.

Sacramento, Orange County, Washington and New York advanced to the WTT Finals Weekend after capturing the top two spots in their conferences during the 37th regular season of the WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, which ran July 9-28.  For tickets or other information on the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, visit www.FamilyCircleCup.com/WTT or www.WTT.com/Finals.

GEICO is the presenting sponsor of the WTT Pro League.  Other official WTT Pro League national and regional sponsors for the 2012 season include Cancer Treatment Centers of America, DecoTurf, Kraft, Mylan, Sims Recycling Solutions, UBS and Wilson Racquet Sports.

WTT FINALS WEEKEND  – TV & LIVE STREAM SCHEDULE

Fri., Sept. 14 – Western Conference Championship- 6:30 p.m. EDT – live stream on WTT.com

Sat., Sept. 15 – Eastern Conference Championship – 12:30 a.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network (tape-delay) and live stream on WTT.com (Eastern Conference Championship live stream presented courtesy of the Washington Kastles)

Sun., Sept. 16 – WTT Finals – 3:30 p.m. EDT – LIVE on NBC Sports Network

MEDIA CONTACT:  Rosie Crews, WTT  817.684.0366  rcrews@wtt.com

About WTT Pro League presented by GEICO: 

The World Team Tennis (WTT) Pro League presented by GEICO showcases the best in professional team tennis with the innovative coed team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s.  The WTT Pro League has featured virtually every major champion of the Open era over the League’s past 36 seasons.  The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis.   WTT and the USTA are teaming up on number of initiatives, including development of the youth market through junior team tennis programs.  For more information on the WTT Pro League, visit www.WTT.com.

About NBC Sports Network:

NBC Sports Network is the 24/7 cable platform for NBC Sports’ rich heritage of unmatched storytelling, best-in-class production and utilizing broad promotion to make big events bigger. Now in more than 79 million homes, NBC Sports Network serves sports fans by airing coverage of the Olympic Games and Trials as well as the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, major college football and basketball, and horse racing surrounding the Triple Crown, among other events.  The network’s original programming, such as Costas Tonight, NFL Turning Point and NBC SportsTalk, exemplifies NBC Sports’ ability to tell stories and provide meaningful, relevant content. The network is also home to the best outdoor programming on television. NBC Sports Network, which prides itself on serving sports fans across multiple platforms, is distributed via cable, satellite and telco operators throughout the United States.

Carroll: Open For Business

The US Open, which got underway Monday at Flushing Meadows Park, has become like the Super Bowl inasmuch as it has become a business event as much as an athletic one.

Last Wednesday, Nike took over Pier 54 on Manhattan’s West Side for an exhibition that the company labeled “Prime Time Knockout.” Nike called on nearly everyone of its highly-compensated tennis stars/endorsers including, Serena Williams (who were a boot on her injured right foot and will miss the Open this year), Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Douglaston’s own John McEnroe, to take part in some light-hearted doubles matches.

Nike officials announced that they were donating thousands of dollars’ worth of tennis equipment to a number of non-profit youth sports organization including the Woodside-based New York Junior Tennis League. While there was a philanthropic aspect to Primetime Knockout, Nike was sending a clear reminder of its dominance in tennis to such rivals as the upstart Under Armour, and the resurgent Reebok, which just opened a huge company store at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

On a smaller scale of brand promotion, Ralph Lauren Polo had Venus Williams conduct a clinic for kids on Randall’s Island last Thursday while the following day Lacoste dispatched Andy Roddick to the Macy’s at Queens Center for a meet-and-greet.

Speaking of Andy Roddick, he holds the distinction of being the last American to win the men’s championship but that was back in 2003. Two years later Roddick was the focus of American Express’s “Where’s Andy’s mojo?” campaign which embarrassed everyone involved when Roddick was upset by Luxemburg’s Gilles Muller in the first round of the 2005 US Open.

American Express has dropped Roddick this year from its signage along the LIRR-7 train Willets Point boardwalk in favor of hopefully rising American players at John Isner and Sam Querrey.

Panasonic believes that the US Open is perfect place to showcase its latest television technology as it has taken out a booth for spectators to watch matches in 3-D.

Mayor Bloomberg hosted a reception for the United States Tennis Association at Gracie Mansion last Thursday evening and among the attendees was Queens district attorney Richard Brown, former borough president Claire Shulman, former mayor and well-known tennis buff David Dinkins, as well as the 1968 US Open women’s champion, Virginia Wade.

I asked Wade, who was born in England but now lives on the Upper East Side, about the possibility of Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the site of the ‘68 Open, being torn down to make way for condominiums. “Of course I am saddened by it but the stadium has been in a state of disrepair for a long time so I do understand the thinking of the board of the West Side Tennis Club,” Wade told me.

Sportscaster extra ordinaire, and Forest Hills native, Ian Eagle will be kept busy in his home borough. He is slated to do nine days of studio hosting Open coverage for both the Tennis Channel and CBS.