MSG Sports and StarGames have announced that ESPN will televise the 2011 BNP Paribas Showdown live from Madison Square Garden on Monday, Feb. 28, with MSG Networks airing a replay on March 7 and 14. The one-day, tennis showcase will feature two of the greatest rivalries in all of tennis when John McEnroe faces off against Ivan Lendl to be followed with Pete Sampras taking on Andre Agassi.
Starting at 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3.com will stream live the classic rivalry between McEnroe and Lendl, and at 9:00 p.m., ESPN2 will televise the final match when rivals Sampras and Agassi square off. ESPN’s coverage will showcase leading on-air commentators during the event, including Chris Fowler and Patrick McEnroe, as well as former Agassi coaches Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert. ESPN International will distribute the matches to 45 million homes in 130 countries and territories.
A replay of the BNP Paribas Showdown will be telecast on MSG Plus on Monday, March 7 and again on MSG Network on Monday, March 14. Both telecasts will feature McEnroe versus Lendl at 7:00 p.m. and Sampras versus Agassi at 8:00 p.m., with two-time Emmy Award winning broadcaster, Ted Robinson, along with Justin Gimelstob, calling the action.
"We're happy to once again have television partners who can help showcase tennis as it's played in such an historic venue," said Jerry Solomon, president StarGames Inc. "ESPN is a proven leader in tennis with their coverage of the majors, while MSG is the authority on the arena that shares its name. We look forward to both their broadcasts."
“ESPN has been a terrific partner, and their participation in the BNP Paribas Showdown inherently makes this an even bigger national event,” said Scott O’Neil, president of MSG Sports. “In addition, the matches will be re-broadcast on MSG Networks on March 7 and 14, so fans will have another opportunity to watch these tennis icons perform on the world’s biggest stage.”
Renewing classic rivalries of the 1980s and 1990s, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl will compete in a one-set pro match (the first player to win eight games), followed by a best-of-three set match between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. The four all-time greats have won a combined 37 Grand Slam Singles titles and 295 ATP Tour events.
The BNP Paribas Showdown, in partnership with the United States Tennis Association, will continue their efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis through “Tennis Night in America,” a national program which is among the largest ever grassroots initiative the sport has ever seen. For more information, visit www.tennisnight.com.
ESPN … all four Grand Slams … all in one place
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and has provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as it is today, with the U.S. Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam tennis events, something no other network has ever done.
ESPN debuted on Sept. 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later on Sept.14, a Davis Cup match featuring Argentina and the United States from Memphis, Tenn. with Cliff Drysdale on the call.
Almost all the tennis is found on ESPN2, giving the network the identity as the destination for tennis fans and giving the sport a home that is flexible enough to carry extensive live programming—and adding to the schedule as storylines dictate. ESPN and ESPN2 both reach 99 million households nationwide. Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, broadband ESPN360.com, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.
For more information, visit www.tennisshowdown.com.