Steve Bellamy, the man behind the new Tennis Channel, reveals how he and his partner, chairman and CEO David Meister, plan on bringing the yellow ball to the small screen 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
AW: How did you get involved with The Tennis Channel?
SB: I’ve been a promoter of tennis for the last 15 years. I’ve been a pro and celebrity tennis coach, and became an entrepreneur when I started buying up tennis clubs about eight years ago. The natural progression for me was to do The Tennis Channel.
AW: And you feel there’s a big audience for this?
SB: There are an estimated 77 million tennis enthusiasts in America — 77 million very underserved people. Tennis is a year-round sport, but it’s rarely on television except for the Grand Slams.
AW: Besides matches, what other programs will you offer?
SB: Destination travel is going to be a big part of our air. Tennis destinations are the most exotic ports of call.
AW: So are the players onboard?
SB: The players are really supportive of this. Tennis players are competitive by nature and they are individual, but they certainly don’t like the fact that there’s a Golf Channel and there’s no Tennis Channel. — J.E.M.