TV tennis is on the move again with BT Sport saying goodbye to WTA coverage. Here's our guide to making sure you don't miss any of the action.
Last year we broke the news of the move of coverage of the US Open and the ATP tour to Amazon Prime Video. From next year the WTA tour will also be shown exclusively on Prime in the UK, ending the six-year relationship with BT. This four year deal is all part of Prime's ambition to be known as the "home of tennis" on TV.
WHERE TO FIND OUT WHAT'S ON
So is it good for tennis and tennis fans? When Prime first started showing the US Open in 2018, viewers were divided about the coverage and complained about everything from the lack of commentaries on some courts, to a muddled menu that made it hard to find the court you wanted to see live and near impossible to locate a specific match for catch up. But the coverage has improved considerably and if the picture quality doesn't match the HD of Sky Digital or the BBC's revered Wimbledon service, the depth of what is on offer has won many admirers.
While Amazon has the "exclusive" UK broadcast rights to many key events, that doesn't quite tell the whole story. For the complete tennis tv package each of the following has something to offer:
As well as hosting exclusive UK coverage of the US Open, Amazon is now the one stop shop for most ATP and WTA tournaments including most ATP 250, 500 and masters 1000 events and from the women's tour, the four WTA Premier Mandatory events: the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Miami Open, the Madrid Open and the China Open in Beijing as well as the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China. The Laver Cup is also part of the Amazon line up.
Key points: Live and ad free; extensive catch up. Costs £6.99 per month - this is for the entire Prime offer, including Prime Video films and TV and Prime shopping and delivery services. Available on many devices through the Amazon Prime app. TV watchers without access to a smart TV, would need the Amazon Fire Stick (typically £39.99) or a similar streaming device (eg Roku Streaming Media Player).
Conclusion: An affordable must-have for tennis fans that largely obligates the need to subscribe to the ATPs Tennis TV and WTA TV. And don't forget you can usually get a one week free trial.
The BBC is still the home of Wimbledon for UK viewers. By law, the Wimbledon Finals must be offered to a free-to-air channel which can be received by at least 95% of the population and secondary coverage of the rest of the event must also be made available to non-subscription viewers. This has helped underscore the long-time partnership between the AELTC and the BBC. In 2019, the BBC screened every Wimbledon singles match for the first time.
The BBC also has rights to broadcast the grass court tournaments from Queen's Club and Eastbourne, daytime singles and the final from the Nitto ATP Finals, and (to be confirmed for 2020) some Davis cup ties and second-week highlights from the Australian Open.
Conclusion: It's free (once you have paid the licence fee). The BBC is still one of the most innovative tennis broadcasters in the world and a must if you like to watch summer grass court play and Wimbledon.
ITV4 will continue to show live action (a guaranteed minimum of 90 hours) from the French Open at least until 2021, extending a relationship which began in 2012.
Conclusion: With John Inverdale in the chair, the coverage feels like a welcome warm up to Wimbledon, and it is free to air.
Once a powerhouse of tennis content for UK views, Eurosport is still the mainstream option to watch coverage of the Australian Open. It also has full coverage of the French Open presented by the wonderful Mats Wilander and shows the Fed Cup.
Cost, if not bundled in with subscription to BT, Sky or Virgin, £6.99 per month for the Eurosport Player.
Conclusion: A nice add-on for the French Open and the only way to start the tennis year if you don't want to miss out on the Aussie Open.
The arrival of ATP and WTA tennis on Amazon prime has made subscribing to the ATP and WTA's official channels much more of a niche choice. Tennis TV, although a completely separate service, will have broadly the same ATP matches as Amazon (though it will have more 250 series coverage and has an extensive match archive). Similarly WTA TV's match coverage will now broadly be available on Amazon, but if you want it for the extras and archive content it is available for £7.81 per month.
Conclusion: For diehard fans only now Amazon is on the scene.
If you would rather be playing than watching, find the league nearest to you here