Tennis Channel will launch a 24-hour television network in Spain, home of all-time great Rafael Nadal and young World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, on Wednesday, August 9.
The channel will be available on Samsung TV Plus and offer content tailored to tennis fans in the country. Spain will be the eighth nation outside of the United States with access to Tennis Channel content.
“We’re very excited to introduce Tennis Channel to Spain, one of the world’s truly most important tennis countries,” said Andy Reif, senior vice president, Tennis Channel International. “Spanish tennis fans are passionate about the sport and their national stars – with good reason given all they’ve accomplished on court historically and in recent years. We believe they’re going to tune in to a channel solely devoted to the great sport of tennis, especially a channel produced and programmed specifically for Spanish tennis fans.”
Tennis Channel Spain will offer live matches and features on Spanish professional tennis players present and past. As with Tennis Channel in other markets around the world, the Spanish edition will provide localized programming as well as the original content that the network is known for worldwide.
In addition to live men’s and women’s tennis throughout the year, Tennis Channel Spain will show special events like the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, the fast-paced, innovative series created by Serena Williams’ longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou. UTS matches use unique rules, eight-minute quarters and Sudden Death tiebreakers to attract young fans and keep things moving, with players encouraged to express themselves in a way not usually seen in tennis.
Spain has long been a hotbed of tennis. Its men’s national team is an annual contender in the Davis Cup battle for the world’s best and it is home to several of the sport’s premier players and most important tournaments. Nadal, the first man to 22 major singles titles, is one of the greatest players of all time.
His record 14 French Open singles championships and 63 clay-court trophies have solidified him as the best player ever on that surface in the minds of many. His countryman Alcaraz appears more than ready to take the baton, having become the youngest World No. 1 in
Benitez slams VAR: This is football, not pingpong
Celta Vigo’s Rafa Benitez has become the latest high-profile manager to hit out at VAR after his side had a goal ruled out in their 2-1 LaLiga defeat at Las Palmas on Monday.
The visiting side thought they opened the scoring in the first half through Jørgen Strand Larsen but it was disallowed after a VAR review adjudged Las Palmas defender Mika Mármol was fouled in the buildup.
The defeat sees Benitez’s team drop into the relegation zone after eight matches and he was furious with the VAR decision.
“How can we not lose in the end? If we score a legal goal and they take it away from you,” Benitez said in his postmatch interview.
“In that play, my player is ahead, he is in front, I’m watching it right now. I don’t understand where the foul is. We will have to play something else if that is a foul.
“Anyone can see it, it makes no sense to call those things. It can’t be, this is football. We’re not talking about pingpong. We’re continually rowing against the current.”
VAR has been under the spotlight especially in England after Luiz Diaz’s goal for Liverpool was incorrectly disallowed in their 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on Saturday.
The VAR officials failed to overturn the incorrect offside decision to disallow the goal leading the English referees’ body PGMOL to issue a statement blaming “significant human error” in the Premier League game.
Liverpool released a statement on Monday saying that the mistake “undermined sporting integrity.”
VAR official Darren England and his assistant Dan Cook were replaced for their next matches at Nottingham Forest-Brentford on Sunday and Monday’s Fulham-Chelsea game respectively.
Forest and Brentford managers Steve Cooper and Thomas Frank were also highly critical of VAR following the 1-1 draw between their teams on Sunday.
Christian Pulisic says VAR technology should be ‘completely eliminated’
USMNT superstar Christian Pulisic has claimed football would be ‘better off’ without VAR following a string of recent controversies surrounding the technology.
The 25-year-old AC Milan winger, who recently wowed on his debut for the Italian giants, said it should be ‘completely’ eliminated from the game.
‘I don’t mind the Goal Line Technology at all, I think it’s great in my opinion but other than that I know its one of those things where if it goes for you, you love it. If it’s against you, you hate it,’ he told Men In Blazers.
He added: ‘Eliminate it completely,’ before stating: ‘Overall as a fan, I just think we’re better off without it.’
The former Chelsea player’s comments come after a bungled VAR call cost Liverpool a goal against Tottenham on Saturday.
Luis Diaz had his strike disallowed for offside but VAR Darren England and assistant Dan Cook mistakenly thought the on-field decision was onside, so did not correct the blunder.
Liverpool heaped pressure on referees’ body PGMOL on Monday by demanding a copy of the tape and now they are expected to be granted their wish.
Both the officials at the heart of the controversy have been dropped for upcoming Premier League fixtures by the PGMOL.
Gary Neville slammed the original decision on Sky Sports, saying: ‘We have the lines on the pitch. These groundspeople never get a line wrong. They are so accurate. Look at the lines on the pitch.
‘I’ve defended VAR offsides as a matter of fact. There’s been a few I thought that’s not right. To me that one there… just no. It was all too quick. It was so quick. It wasn’t right. At the time I was like, “OK let’s move on”.
‘That is clearly Romero’s foot and Diaz’s shoulder. There’s only two players in shot. It’s almost now like what are they doing? They’re picking the wrong cameras to do the lines on… the wrong angles. It’s just weird! Something doesn’t feel right.’
Sportfive nets third-party rights to Brazil, Argentina’s home W/Cup qualifiers
A key piece of the puzzle in the South American media-rights market has been solved ahead of the Conmebol Fifa World Cup qualifiers that get underway this week, with the Sportfive agency landing rights for matches involving Brazil and Argentina.
Sportfive has secured exclusive third-party media rights (territories outside of the two countries playing) to all home 2026 World Cup qualifiers of the two South American giants, having reached an agreement with two agencies: Brax for Brazil’s rights and Torneos for Argentina’s.
Brazil’s first home game in the World Cup qualifiers is against Bolivia on September 8, while world champions Argentina kick off their campaign tomorrow (Thursday) at home to Ecuador.
In addition, Sportfive will sell third-party media rights for all home friendlies played by Brazil outside of the Americas. This was a long-term contract previously held by the UK-based Pitch International agency that expired after the 2022 World Cup.
It is a significant contract win for Sportfive and comes less than a year after Pedro Cubillos returned to the agency tasked with overseeing media rights acquisitions and sales across Latin America.
Cubillos was with Lagardère Sports – renamed Sportfive in 2020 following the takeover by H.I.G. Capital – for close to a decade. In 2019 he set up Tribe Sports Marketing agency with former colleague Marco Gonzalez.
Thomas Klingebiel, president of media at Sportfive, said: “We are thrilled to have secured these exclusive media rights for the South American World Cup Qualifiers. This agreement reinforces Sportfive’s commitment to delivering top-tier sports content to a global audience.”
South American football governing body Conmebol does not sell collective rights to World Cup qualifiers in the region. Rather, the football federations sell domestic and international rights to their respective home qualifiers and friendlies on an individual basis.
It means last-minute deals have often been required to ensure widespread exposure of the Conmebol World Cup qualifiers.
Just this week, SportBusiness reported clarity over Bolivia’s matches, after the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) was granted domestic rights to its home World Cup qualifiers after a court ruled against a claim from Mediapro and Sports TV Rights, which bid for the rights in a tender earlier this year.
The FBF was granted a ‘constitutional protection’ by the Departmental Court of La Paz that will enable the federation to exploit the rights on its own FBF Play streaming platform, rather than selling the rights to a third party such as Sports TV Rights or Mediapro.
Days earlier, and before the FBF had the legal right to sell Bolivia’s matches, Brazilian broadcaster Globo secured exclusive rights to the home matches of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
This secured the broadcaster’s near-universal coverage of the qualifiers in Brazil, as it had already retained domestic rights to the Brazilian national team’s home World Cup qualifying matches and friendlies until 2026.
Mediapro holds international rights to all of Peru’s home qualifiers and friendlies over the quadrennial period between World Cups. It also holds global media and marketing rights to the international matches of Chile in conjunction with the 1190 Sports agency over the 2023-26 period.
Aside from the individual sales, a quartet of South American football associations banded together in May to sell media rights to their home 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on a collective basis, in what experts regarded as a step in the right direction for the region’s international football rights market.
The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF), Paraguayan Football Association (APF), Ecuadorian Football Federation (EFE) and Venezuelan Football Federation (FVF) issued a joint Request for Proposal (RFP) on May 18, initially giving interested parties until June 8 to submit bids. No deals have been confirmed following the tender, however, Mediapro is understood to be the favourite to acquire the rights.
Six South American nations will qualify automatically for the 2026 World Cup in USA-Mexico-Canada (up from five at Qatar 2022) and with one other entering an inter-confederation playoff, only three nations will be automatically ruled out of qualification.
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