DirecTV to Offer Extensive Interactive TV Coverage of US Open Tennis

--Live, Interactive US Open Coverage also to Be Offered on USOpen.org

US satellite-TV provider, DirecTV, has announced plans to offer extensive interactive TV coverage of the upcoming US Open tennis championship (August 31st-September 7th). The coverage will include five extra live court channels, in addition to the main feeds from ESPN2 and CBS, on DirecTV's multiscreen Mix Channel. All of the coverage will be available in HD, the company says, and viewers will be able to select any of the channel's six miniscreens in order to listen to its audio feed (which will include "natural sound" and dedicated commentary from tennis experts and former touring pros) or to view it in full-screen mode. In total, DirecTV says, the Mix Channel will provide over 435 hours of live coverage, including coverage of up to 140 matches that will not be seen anywhere else.

Each of the multiscreen Mix Channel's five live court channels will allow viewers to access an interactive TV application, activated via the red button. The app will allow viewers to select between:

  • Match Guide, which will provide the score of the current match on each court channel, as well as a list of the matches scheduled for that day.
  • Recent Results, which will provide real-time scoring of in-progress and completed matches, as well as information on upcoming matches.
  • Womens Draw and Men's Draw, which are billed as providing the complete draw from the first to the final round, along with scores.

In order to promote its interactive TV coverage of the US Open (which the company has branded as the "DirecTV US Open Experience"), DirecTV is teaming with ESPN on an August 26th event in New York City's Bryant Park that will include a free tennis exhibition and a United States Tennis Association (USTA) clinic featuring, among others, Venus and Serena Williams.

In related news: The USTA announced Monday that it plans to offer over 300 hours of live streaming video coverage of over 150 US Open matches on USOpen.org, the official Web site of the tennis championship. Entitled "US Open Live," the service will be sponsored by Westin Hotels and Stonyfield Farm. According to the USTA, which says that last year USOpen.org streamed the 2008 Men's Final to around 300,000 US viewers, US Open Live, which it says will provide live coverage from the five show courts during the majority of this year's tournament, represents USOpen.org's "largest new initiative."

According to the USTA, the service will feature an interactive media console that has been designed and developed by the US Open's technology solutions provider, IBM. The organization says that the console will offer picture-in-picture match viewing, user commenting, and live match stats updates integrated with its live video. The USTA world feed, which is fed to international broadcasters in around 180 countries, will be streamed live during all the live television windows for ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel, the USTA says, and all five television courts will be available in HD with announcer commentary. "When we announced our new landmark cable television deal with ESPN and Tennis Channel, we promised to deliver the US Open to more fans in more ways than ever before," Pierce O’Neil, the USTA's chief business officer, said in a prepared statement. "With the support of our two newest sponsors--Westin Hotels and Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt--and IBM, we are making that a reality by making over 300 hours of live match coverage available on USOpen.org on a complimentary basis to fans throughout the country." Added Phil Green, the USTA's senior director of advanced media: "Offering high-definition streaming through IBM's new interactive media console will provide tennis fans with a more dynamic online viewing experience than they've ever had before."

According to the USTA, during the US Open, USOpen.org is one of the most heavily trafficked sports Web sites in the world, last year attracting over 41 million visits from over 200 countries.

Region: 
North America