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Amazon to begin sports broadcasting with tennis at Queen’s next week

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Anyone expecting Amazon Prime to deliver a surprise package to their door when it comes to their first foray into broadcasting tennis next week ought not to raise hopes too high.The online retail giants, who are also televising football later this year, have unveiled their coverage for next week’s Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club, which will kick off their long-term involvement in the men’s game.While executives emphasised that these are early days, this is set to be a conservative start, lacking in the kind of wow factor that might have been anticipated from one of the corporate world’s great disrupters. Suggestions that tennis fan Bear Grylls had been approached to add a left field voice were quickly scotched. Instead a solid if unspectacular line up of personnel was unveiled. Moreover, there will not be an on-site studio, with the coverage anchored instead from down the road in Chiswick.’Technology should support the coverage but you don’t want to make it gimmicky, the action is the thing and we should never lose sight of that,’ said Jay Marine, European Head of Amazon Prime.The nearest thing to a big name for UK viewers will be Greg Rusedski, who has genuine credibility as a former top five player but tends to operate best when he has the soothing influence of Annabel Croft alongside him.He will instead be partnered in the studio by Slovakia former top tenner Daniela Hantuchova. She has a good eye for the game, although somewhat strangely her excellent record as a mixed doubles player was cited as evidence of her authority.Neither of the two presenters, Ross Dyer and Catherine Whitaker, are high profile, although the latter will be known to regular watchers of Eurosport’s tennis coverage. Anna Whiteley, who has worked on the Wimbledon Channel, will be the on-site reporter while the commentary will be taken from the generic ‘World Feed’ to international broadcasters, provided by the experienced team of Nick Lester, Robbie Koenig and Arvind Parmar.None of this is to say that the broadcast will lack quality, but neither is it any great statement of intent.For that one may have to wait until the US Open at the end of the summer, to which Amazon has exclusive rights. The roster for that has yet to be assembled, but they will at least have an on-site studio as Sky did during their long tenure.The ATP Tour originally hoped that Sky might introduce a specialist Channel along the lines of its golf and versions to accommodate the hundreds of hours it currently broadcasts, but the idea was rejected. is the forerunner to the package of rights they have secured for the in December, which includes post-Christmas matches. It is doubtless no coincidence that these come at a peak time of year when people are buying presents and then looking for online sales bargains. Their plans for that have not been developed yet, but an increased spr

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