Aug 26, 2009 at 06:51 PM
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DIRECTV & ESPN Roll Out The Hard Court

DIRECTV and ESPN rolled out the red carpet, and two full hard courts, in Manhattan's Bryant Park earlier today for the DIRECTV U.S. Open Experience, which included a free tennis exhibition, USTA clinic featuring some of the biggest names in the sport and the chance to compete against star James Blake. Other stars attending included Venus and Serena Williams; tennis legend John McEnroe; former pros - turned TV commentators the Jensen brothers; the World's current No. 1 Men's doubles team the Bryan brothers and James Blake.

This certainly isn't the first time tennis' programming partners and sponsors have used experiential events outside of the USTA tennis center to get the event top of mind - and provide a unique showcase for its partners. Back in June, HSBC and Prince Tennis pulled off grass tennis in Rock Plaza and for the past few years American Express has delivered live tennis to Madison Park during the Open.

Today's event was used to promote DIRECTV's US OPEN Experience which will include more than 435 hours of live tennis, up to 140 extra matches that can't be seen elsewhere, with five extra court channels in addition to the main ESPN2 feed - displayed on DIRECTV's six-on-one-screen Mix Channel, and provided in HD. DIRECTV has provided a similar interactive package around other top tier events such as the French, Australian and British Opens as well as Wimbledon and many of the major sports leagues.

Bud Collins took a minute out to talk to SponsorPitch about the state of tennis when it comes to corporate sponsors.

Leader Enterprises and Leverage Agency managed the event on behalf of ESPN and DIRECTV.

You can find more info on DIRECTV's U.S. Open programming at