2014/07/30

A Peek Into Season Three of “World of Tennis”

 

(December 5, 2012) NEW YORK, NY – The “World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas” enters its third season this year debuting on Tennis Channel.

The 30-minute seven episode program includes “Holding Court,” an interview segment hosted by Justin Gimelstob.

“It’s an opportunity to go deep,” said  show host and former touring pro turned tennis broadcaster Gimelstob of his “Holding Court” segment.

“It’s not a post-match ‘How did you play, what do you need to do to win your next match.’ It’s an opportunity to learn about people and I love people, I love telling the stories. I love the connection. I love being able to help people know more about the sport of tennis and the people that they look up to. I’m truly a lover of the sport a proponent and believer in tennis. The best way to grow the sport is to get people folks that are connected. To be able to do that is a long form interview. So I think that’s been something missing from our sport. Hopefully this could be something that could be the start of something very, very significant.

“Hopefully my relationships with the players in the sport make them more comfortable and more comfortable means they are more willing to open up.”

The show’s producer Jennie Silverstein talked about what would surprise viewers most about what goes on “behind-the-scenes” at “World of Tennis.”

“I think it might be how genuine what you see on the air is,” said the veteran tennis producer. “If you were to be hanging around while we were filming, you might not know when we actually started rolling the cameras. So many of these conversations you see on air continue once the camera stops.

“Some of the issues we get into with the Tennis.com team are things I think they could debate for hours if you gave them the chance. The “Holding Court” segments tend to be more conversations than a Q&A, so it’s almost like you just happened upon Justin and the guest in a coffee shop, not a formal interview set. I think that feeling of comfort is one of the strong suits of the show.”

“I think viewers will enjoy this new season. Our roundtable discussions with the Tennis.com editorial staff is always enjoyable because these guys know the sport so well. It’s like a guilty pleasure to eavesdrop on their debates. To have Jimmy Connors sit down for a long form interview with Justin for “Holding Court” was a great thrill because he doesn’t do a ton of interviews. There’s a long way to go during the season, but I look forward to the World Tennis Day preview in our final episode because that’s such a great initiative for the sport and I think we’ll be able to uniquely look ahead to what’s in store on March 4 with not only the BNP Paribas Showdown events in New York and Hong Kong but also the grassroots activities around the world.”

So what does it take to produce this type of program? “From start to finish, it takes a few weeks to do each episode, but the amount of day-to-day work varies during those weeks,” Silverstein elaborated. “Like anything, it starts with planning. We work to line up guests for Holding Court and topics for the Tennis.com staff to discuss. There are considerable logistics for the “Holding Court” interviews, including getting personnel to the interview locations, hiring crews, etc. So that’s time consuming. It’s easier with the Tennis.com group because they are here in New York, but we still have to coordinate schedules and a crew. The interviews take a day to shoot. Then the shows take a few days to edit, and that’s probably the trickiest part. You have to balance managing the time allotted for a particular segment against the content that is available. Once we have that formatted, we go through add other imagery and graphics to really complete the package.

“Producing live tennis and producing this show are very different,” said Silverstein who has produced at all of the “Grand Slams, ” Masters Series tournaments and many other tennis events.  “World of Tennis has a specific length, so everything we do has to fit within that parameter. A tennis match has it’s own pace and no set time limit. We can set an agenda for World of Tennis, and plan what stories we want to tell. A live match is more reactionary to how the match unfolds. So they both have unique challenges. I enjoy being able to be involved in both sides of it because they are so different. Regardless of that format, tennis is intriguing because of how many individual stories there are in the sport. Whether it’s World of Tennis or a match, the story telling is something I enjoy.”

Gimelstob is excited about the upcoming season with interviews with Hall of Famers Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker, current pros Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro and tennis enthusiast, skier Lindsay Vonn.

“It’s a really nice mix of the most well-known people in the sport from the past, the present and the future,” said Gimelstob.

The show will air every other Wednesday  beginning December 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. EST, until February 27 with a re-broadcast on Tennis Channel.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Third Season of “World of Tennis” to Debut on Tennis Channel December 5

(November 29, 2012) NEW YORK, N.Y. – StarGames and MSG Sports have announced that the third season of “World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas” will debut next week. The first of seven episodes of the bi-weekly series will premiere on Tennis Channel at 7:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 5.

The 30-minute show will feature “Holding Court,” a profile segment hosted by Justin Gimelstob that this year will include interviews with tennis legends Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker as well as Olympic gold medal skier and tennis fan Lindsay Vonn. In the first two years of the show, Gimelstob’s guests included Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick and “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson.

The hot topics of tennis will also be covered on each episode during a round table discussion with Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Jon Wertheim and the editorial staff at Tennis.com.

Tennis Channel will debut a new episode of the magazine show every other Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. EST, until February 27. Each show will then re-air on Tennis Channel.

“We’re happy to have the new season of World of Tennis back on Tennis Channel again,” said David Scott, vice president, programming, Tennis Channel. “Since its inception the series has allowed our viewers to get an insider’s look at some of the most exciting players and pressing issues in the sport today.”

The season finale on February 27 will be a preview of World Tennis Day, which includes BNP Paribas Showdown events in New York City and Hong Kong on March 4. The sixth annual event in New York at Madison Square Garden is part of Tennis Night in America (TNIA) and will feature Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal. TNIA is an annual celebration of the sport in the United States which encourages 10-and-under tennis.

The BNP Paribas Showdown at AsiaWorld-Arena will mark the event’s first year in Hong Kong and will feature Li Na, Caroline Wozniacki, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.

“There is a lot of tennis on television, but I think ‘World of Tennis’ separates itself as a unique look at the personalities and stories in the game,” said Jerry Solomon, executive producer and president of StarGames. “It is only possible to present this show with the help of our partners at MSG and BNP Paribas. Collectively, we want to present tennis to the widest possible audience, and this show is a chance to not only showcase tennis but also to give fans a real inside look at the stories and personalities that make the game so compelling.”

Long-time tennis producer Jennie Silverstein will produce “World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas” for StarGames and MSG Sports. BNP Paribas, a leader in banking and financial services and the world No. 1 tennis partner, will be presenting sponsor, with additional support being provided by Tennis Magazine, Wilson, Getty Images, USTA, Tennis Night in America and the BNP Paribas Showdown.

Video highlights and uncut versions of the interviews from “World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas” are found on www.stargamesinc.com.

More information on the BNP Paribas Showdown events in New York and Hong Kong can be found on www.worldtennisday.com.

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The Montreal Rendezvous to Feature Agassi, Connors, Lendl and Chang

MSG Sports and StarGames Inc. announced on Thursday that the companies will join forces with evenko to  present The Montreal Rendezvous on March 2, 2012 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.

 

The Montreal Rendezvous, a collaboration between the Bell Centre’s production arm evenko, MSG Sports and StarGames Inc. is a new tennis event saluting the great past and current champions of the game which will make its debut in Montreal, Canada March 2, 2012 and showcase tennis icons Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Michael Chang competing in the inaugural winter tennis event.

The Montreal Rendezvous adds to MSG Sports and StarGames Inc.’s tennis platform which includes the annual BNP Paribas Showdown, the world’s most unique one-night tennis exhibition which debuted in 2008. The 2012 event is scheduled for March 5 at Madison Square Garden featuring matches between Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova as well as Andy Roddick against Roger Federer.  Past participants have included Federer, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Lendl, John McEnroe, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

“Expanding MSG Sports to include partnerships and events outside of our venues is a key part of the growth strategy for our business,” said Scott O’Neil, president, MSG Sports. “We have produced and promoted tennis events for more than 80 years at The World’s Most Famous Arena, and most recently had great success with the annual BNP Paribas Showdown produced in partnership with StarGames. We are excited to partner once again with StarGames, and new partner evenko, to expand our presence in the tennis world with The Montreal Rendezvous, which is sure to be another must-see night of tennis.”

 

“The growth of our partnership with MSG Sports opens up exciting new opportunities for us in tennis and other sports,” said StarGames President and Rendezvous Executive Producer Jerry Solomon. “Having MSG as part of the Rendezvous will help us establish it as an important annual event and a “must-have” ticket.”

 

The Montreal Rendezvous will feature matches that highlight two of the game’s great rivalries.  The evening will open with Jimmy Connors taking on Ivan Lendl in an 8 game pro-set.  Connors and Lendl faced each other 35 times in their careers with Lendl having bested Connors 22 times. Andre Agassi and Michael Chang will follow in a best of three set match.

For More information: http://www.stargamesinc.com/rendezvouspr.html

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“World of Tennis presented by BNP Paribas” Episode 2 Preview

“World of Tennis presented by BNP Paribas”

Episode 2

Wednesday, July 13 – 10:00 pm on Tennis Channel

Saturday, July 16 – noon on MSG Plus

 

 

Episode 2 of the popular “World of Tennis presented by BNP Paribas” will feature tennis professional and this past weekend’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championship winner, John Isner. The American star, currently ranked no. 36 in the world will appear alongside host Justin Gimelstob during the “Holding Court with Justin” segment where he reveals he has a secret crush on Twilight star Ashley Greene.  The two shared a moment during the 2010 ESPY Awards where Isner received the Breakthrough Performance Award. The 6 foot 9 Isner participated in the longest tennis match in history when he defeated Nicolas Mahut during Wimbledon last year in an 11 hour and 5 minute match that took place over the course of 3 days.    The show will air Wednesday night at 10:00 pm on Tennis Channel (re-airs on Thurs. At 11:00 am and Sun. At 7:30 pm) and on MSG Plus Saturday at noon.

The annual eight-week series takes an inside look at the sport, from the professional tours to the history of the game.  The magazine-style show covers the sport in a way that no one else does, providing something unique for tennis fans.

Each week the show will feature a special guest as well as feature segments where you can hone your game with tennis and fitness tips from former world no. 1 Ivan Lendl.  Additionally, challenge your tennis acumen with new and riveting round table discussion topics brought to you by tennis.com.  “Holding Court with Justin” is an insider’s look at a variety of factors on the professional tour and furthermore, USTA President Jon Vogosen will take us behind the scenes at the USTA providing an in depth look at each facet of the sport’s governing body.

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Raw and Uncut – Sounds of the Showdown with Agassi, Sampras, Lendl and McEnroe

Monday, February 25, 2011 – Jumeirah Essex House, Grand Ballroom – Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe shared a few laughs among the serious questions during a morning news conference for the BNP Paribas Showdown. The player’s portion of the news conference begins at the 12 minute mark.

Warning – due to technical issues the levels of these recordings may be low so you may have to raise your volume. Also be wary of the background sounds of reporters milling about with papers and such and doors opening and closing.

Morning News Conference

Runs 31:17 – forward to the 12:00 mark when players begin to banter.

John McEnroe

John McEnroe was forced to retire due to an ankle sprain while leading Lendl 6-3. Listen to what he had to say:

John McEnroe Post Match News Conference

Runs 9:45

 

Ivan Lendl

Between Ivan Lendl’s comments during the morning news conference and this post match news conference, he could easily be a stand up comedian:

Ivan Lendl Post Match News Conference

Runs 13:45

Agassi – Sampras Post Match News Conference

Runs 9:53

Tennis Panorama was media for the BNP Paribas Showdown. On Occasion we like to include raw sound in our articles and sometimes a podcast.

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Agassi-Sampras, Lendl-McEnroe Revive Old Rilvalries at Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK, NY, Madison Square Garden – February 25, 2011 – Sports fans know the old saying “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” On Monday night tennis fans went to an exhibition hoping a fight would break out between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. A year ago there was a little heat as a charity exhibition for “Hit for Haiti” caused controversy when Andre Agassi insinuated that Pete Sampras was stingy. This caused Sampras to later serve right at Agassi with an intent to hit him.

Earlier in the day both men told the media that all their differences are now in the past – Sampras said “In my eyes, it’s over.”

“We’ve straightened it out,” Agassi said. “Like I’ve said 150 times, it was a complete mistake on my part. ‘Hit for Haiti’ raised a lot of money; we did a lot of good things. But we unfortunately had a microphone on our mouths, and I was talking a lot. One thing wasn’t good.”

There was no such drama this night at the BNP Paribas Showdown as both men played high quality tennis in the featured “bout.” Pete Sampras fired 12 aces and  won 78 percent of his first serve points to oust his former rival Andre Agassi 6-3, 7-5.

Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras

Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras

“We were trying to put on a good show for the people,” said Sampras.

Agassi was just proud and happy to achieve one of the goal he had set for himself for the match- and that was  to break Sampras’ serve just once which he did  in the fourth game of the second set.

This was the third year in a row that BNP Paribas sponsored the showdown at Madison Square Garden. The last two years were a women’s event.

This event was the showpiece of Tennis Night in America – to encourage children to play tennis and to promote the USTA’s latest initiative for the use of smaller courts for children 10 years old and younger.

Pete Sampras was the spokesman for Tennis Night in America. He began to play tennis when he was seven years old. “I think it is very important to get kids playing tennis at a young age,” said Sampras. Part of the USTA’s 10-and Under-initiative is to put the lines of the smaller court for children into a regular size court. Both matches were played on one of these “blended” courts.

John McEnroe

Fans may have been looking for a fight in the featured match but a technical knockout was delivered by Ivan Lendl in the “undercard” when John McEnroe was forced to retire while leading 6-3. This match was a pro set in which the winner wins the set by capturing eight games instead of the traditional six.

McEnroe strained his ankle a few hours before when he was practicing with Pete Sampras. “I wasn’t feeling good at any point in the match, ” said McEnroe.

In the spirit of the old rivalry, McEnroe wore his old 80′s style shorts under his longer pair and claimed to have “his old style” hair in wig form.

 

Ivan Lendl

Lendl suggested that if the Showdown is played next year that they should wear short shorts and use wooden racquets.

 

During a late morning news conference, the four participants engaged in some lively chat with some serious subjects in between.

Asked about the problems with American tennis Agassi said, “I think the problem with American tennis is Nadal and Federer.” Agassi claims that Andy Roddick would have won a few more major titles if it weren’t for Federer. Agassi continued,  “Tennis is global in nature so it gets more competitive. Guys are getting better. They’ve raised the bar.”

Seems as though tennis fans want tennis back “in the world’s most famous arena,” attendance for the event was  17, 165.

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Tennis Night In America to Feature USTA’s 10 and Under Initiative

The USTA and event producers StarGames and MSG Sports, have announced that for the first time in history, 60-foot blended lines will be put on a traditional 78-foot regulation court being used for a pro tennis match.  On Monday February 28, Madison Square Garden will host for the fourth consecutive year the BNP Paribas Showdown. This year’s event will feature Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe and Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi, as part of the “Tennis Night in America” celebration. Blended lines are painted in a different, more subtle color than the traditional lines, enabling courts to be adapted for competitive play for younger children. These blended lines are a major component of the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis Initiative.

 

Before the matches begin children from the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) will take to the 60-foot blended line court for a 10 and Under Tennis exhibition, using the QuickStart Tennis play format.  The concept of 10 and Under Tennis scales the game down to size for its youngest participants, with slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, lighter and smaller racquets, and shorter courts that make the game fun, easy to learn and easy to play, ensuring that kids will return to tennis again and again.

“For years, other sports like soccer and baseball have had kids playing on smaller fields with kid-size equipment,” said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President.  “We’re doing the same thing with tennis.  To have players like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, and Ivan Lendl competing on a court with blended lines is a huge step for the sport of tennis and a great way to showcase 10 and Under Tennis to the world.”

More than 675 tennis facilities across the country will be registering youth in tennis programs at National Youth Registration events throughout March. These events serve as an “opening day” for parents to sign up their kids for spring and summer programming.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown, now in its fourth year, will renew classic rivalries of the 1980’s and 90’s, as McEnroe and Lendl will compete in a pro-set match (first player to win eight games) followed by a best-of-three set match between Sampras and Agassi. The four all-time greats have won a combined 37 Grand Slam singles titles and 295 ATP World Tour singles titles.

 

ESPN3.com will live stream live the match between McEnroe and Lendl at 7:00 p.m. and at 9:00 p.m. ESPN2 will televise the Sampras-Agassi match. Chris Fowler, Patrick McEnroe and former Agassi coaches Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert will call the action for ESPN.

The event will re-air on MSG Plus on Monday, March 7 and again on MSG Network on Monday, March 14. Both broadcasts will feature McEnroe versus Lendl at 7:00 p.m. and Sampras versus Agassi at 8:00 p.m. withTed Robinson and Justin Gimelstob doing the commentary.

 

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.

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ESPN to Televise BNP Paribas Showdown Live from Madison Square Garden

New York, February 16, 2011 – MSG Sports and StarGames announced today that ESPN will televise the much anticipated 2011 BNP Paribas Showdown live from Madison Square Garden on Monday, February 28 with MSG Networks airing a replay on March 7 & 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, 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, MSG Sports. “In addition, the matches will be rebroadcast on MSG Networks on March 7th and 14th, so fans will have another opportunity to watch these tennis icons perform on the world’s biggest stage.”

Renewing classic rivalries of the 80’s and 90’s, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl will compete in a one set pro match (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 is produced by StarGames and MSG Sports. Tickets beginning at $50.00 are currently on sale and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.

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 grass roots initiative the sport has ever seen. To find a sign-up location please go to 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 today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other network has ever done.

ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis 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.

About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is the Eurozone’s leading bank in terms of deposits, and one of the 10 most important banks in the world in terms of net banking income, equity capital and market value. Furthermore, it is one of the 6 strongest banks in the world according to Standard & Poor’s. With a presence in 85 countries and more than 205,000 employees, 165,200 of which in Europe and 15,000 in the United States, BNP Paribas is a global-scale European leader in financial services. It holds key positions in its three activities: Retail banking, Investment Solutions and Corporate & Investment Banking. BNP Paribas also has a significant presence in the United States and strong positions in Asia and the emerging markets. This year, BNP Paribas celebrates its 37th anniversary of its partnership with tennis. Since 1973, BNP Paribas has been actively involved with the sport and has consistently strengthened its commitment since then to support it both locally and worldwide. BNP Paribas has historically been a privileged partner in all aspects of tennis: as an Official Sponsor of the French Open for 37 years, and a sponsor of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas since 2001, of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas since 2005, and of the BNP Paribas Masters since 1986, as well as other major international tournaments including the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, WTA Bank of the West Classic in California, Master Series Monte Carlo, BNP Paribas Women’s Open in Strasbourg and Grand Prix de Lyon.
About Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden is a fully-integrated sports, entertainment and media business. The company is comprised of three business segments: MSG Sports, MSG Entertainment and MSG Media, which are strategically aligned to work together to drive MSG’s overall business, which is built on a foundation of iconic venues and compelling content that MSG creates, produces, presents and/or distributes through its programming networks and other media assets. MSG Sports consists of owning and operating sports franchises, including the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL), the New York Liberty (WNBA), and the Connecticut Whale (AHL). MSG Sports also features other sports properties, including the presentation of a wide variety of live sporting events including professional boxing, college basketball, track and field and tennis. MSG Entertainment is one of the country’s leaders in live entertainment. MSG Entertainment creates, produces and/or presents a variety of live productions, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes, throughout the country. MSG Entertainment also presents or hosts other live entertainment events such as concerts, family shows and special events in MSG’s diverse collection of venues. These venues include Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, the Chicago Theatre and the Wang Theatre. MSG Media is a leader in production and content development for multiple distribution platforms, including content originating from MSG’s venues. MSG Media consists of the MSG Networks (MSG, MSG Plus, MSG HD and MSG Plus HD) regional sports networks and the Fuse Networks (Fuse and Fuse HD), a national television network dedicated to music. MSG Media is also responsible for managing interactive initiatives across all business segments. More information is available at www.msg.com.

StarGames, LLC (www.stargamesinc.com) is a fully integrated sports marketing, management and entertainment company based outside of Boston, MA. Now in its 16th year, StarGames represents current and former professional athletes, produces original content for mass media distribution, operates its own broadband television channels and produces live and made for television events. StarGames orchestrated the return of tennis to Madison Square Garden with the 2008 NetJets Showdown and the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup; with tennis legend Ivan Lendl, launched the Champions Academy in Florida for elite junior athletes and most recently produced the Caesars Tennis Classic in Atlantic City, NJ. StarGames partners on various projects with Lagardere Unlimited which represents the international television rights for the BNP Paribas Showdown.

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Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe and Lendl Getting Ready for BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on February 28

New York, New York – February 3, 2011 — With only weeks remaining before the much anticipated BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden, tennis legends Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl are in preparations for their respective match ups at The World’s Most Famous Arena on February 28, 2011.

The 2011 BNP Paribas Showdown will renew classic rivalries of the 80’s and 90’s, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl will compete in a one set pro match (first player to win eight games), followed by a best of three set match between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

The official ‘Countdown to The Showdown’ begins Sunday, and will mark the 22 days leading up to the event. The number 22 is significant as it represents the number of Grand Slam titles of Sampras (14) and Agassi (8) combined. The Countdown will be marked on the event website (www.tennisshowdown.com), as well as the event’s Twitter and Facebook pages, with a daily dose of information highlighting the four legendary players in the BNP Paribas Showdown.

Agassi, who will face Sampras in the featured match, recently returned from Taiwan where he was fine tuning his return of serve and overall game during a couple of matches with Marat Safin.  Agassi won both matches in third-set match tie-breaks.  After an emotional final appearance at the 2006 US Open, Agassi returns to New York to face his long-time rival, before joining him in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, where Agassi will be inducted this coming summer.

Sampras, who took Roger Federer to three sets in 2008 at Madison Square Garden is accustomed to these settings and is preparing for a grudge match against Agassi.  Before making his way to New York, Sampras will play in a featured exhibition against Gael Monfils, who is currently ranked No. 12 in the World, on February 7 in San Jose, CA.  Sampras debuted in 1988 and played his last professional tournament in 2002, when he captured the US Open, defeating his rival Agassi in the final.

New York native, John McEnroe is no stranger to Madison Square Garden where he captured the Masters title three times, twice beating his rival Ivan Lendl.   McEnroe will head south to the Delray Beach International Tennis Championship where he will face Jimmy Arias on Feb. 19, Todd Martin on Feb. 20 and Aaron Krickstein on Feb. 21, before heading home to show off his shot making artistry against Lendl on The Garden court one last time.

Lendl, who advanced to the Master’s final at Madison Square Garden a record eight times with winning five titles, has been gearing up for his showdown against McEnroe.  The two legends have history at MSG with Lendl beating McEnroe in the 1983 Masters Final (6-4, 6-4, 6-2), and McEnroe winning back to back titles against Lendl in 1984 (6-3, 6-4, 6-4) and again in 1985 (7-5, 6-0, 6-4).  Recently, McEnroe beat his old foe during a round robin tournament in Adelaide prior to the Australian Open.  Lendl recently was in Berlin, Germany where he beat Carl Uwe Steeb (6-3 5-7 10-7) (tiebreak for the 3rd set) in an exhibition match.

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by StarGames and MSG Sports. Tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.

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 grass roots initiatives the sport has ever seen. To find a sign-up location please go to www.tennisnight.com.

After an eight year hiatus professional tennis returned to The World’s Most Famous Arena on March 10, 2008 with the sold-out NetJets Showdown between World No. 1 Roger Federer and former Grand Slam record holder Pete Sampras.

The following year women’s tennis returned to The Garden with the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup in 2009 and 2010.  Players who have participated include: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic.

About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is the Eurozone’s leading bank in terms of deposits, and one of the 10 most important banks in the world in terms of net banking income, equity capital and market value. Furthermore, it is one of the 6 strongest banks in the world according to Standard & Poor’s. With a presence in 85 countries and more than 205,000 employees, 165,200 of which in Europe and 15,000 in the United States, BNP Paribas is a global-scale European leader in financial services. It holds key positions in its three activities: Retail banking, Investment Solutions and Corporate & Investment Banking. BNP Paribas also has a significant presence in the United States and strong positions in Asia and the emerging markets. This year, BNP Paribas celebrates its 37th anniversary of its partnership with tennis. Since 1973, BNP Paribas has been actively involved with the sport and has consistently strengthened its commitment since then to support it both locally and worldwide.  BNP Paribas has historically been a privileged partner in all aspects of tennis: as an Official Sponsor of the French Open for 37 years, and a sponsor of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas since 2001, of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas since 2005, and of the BNP Paribas Masters since 1986, as well as other major international tournaments including the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, WTA Bank of the West Classic in California, Master Series Monte Carlo, BNP Paribas Women’s Open in Strasbourg and Grand Prix de Lyon.

MSG Sports owns and operates several premier sports franchises, including the NBA’s New York Knicks, NHL’s New York Rangers, WNBA’s New York Liberty, and the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). As well as promotes, produces and/or partners on a broad array of world class live sporting events, including world championship boxing, college and high school basketball, track and field, mixed martial arts, gymnastics, tennis, professional bull riding and others. Madison Square Garden is a fully-integrated sports, entertainment and media business. The company is comprised of three business segments: MSG Sports, MSG Entertainment and MSG Media, which are strategically aligned to work together to drive its overall business, and built on a foundation of iconic venues and compelling content that MSG creates, produces, presents and/or distributes through its programming networks and other media assets. MSG Sports consists of the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL), the New York Liberty (WNBA), and the Hartford Whale (American Hockey League). MSG Entertainment is a leader in managing and creating concerts and events at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, the legendary Chicago Theatre, the Wang Theatre in Boston, and produces the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes. MSG Media is comprised of leading television networks MSG, MSG Plus, MSG HD and MSG Plus HD, as well as MSG Interactive, which oversees all company wireless and online initiatives, and Fuse and Fuse HD, the national television network dedicated exclusively to music. The company owns and operates the Madison Square Garden arena complex located in the heart of the New York metropolitan area.  More information is available at www.thegarden.com.

StarGames, LLC (www.stargamesinc.com) is a fully integrated sports marketing, management and entertainment company based outside of Boston, MA. Now in its 16th year, StarGames represents current and former professional athletes, produces original content for mass media distribution, operates its own broadband television channels and produces live and made for television events. StarGames orchestrated the return of tennis to Madison Square Garden with the 2008 NetJets Showdown and the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup; with tennis legend Ivan Lendl, launched the Champions Academy in Florida for elite junior athletes and most recently produced the Caesars Tribute: A Salute to the Golden Age of American Skating for NBC in Atlantic City, NJ.  StarGames partners on various projects with Lagardere Unlimited which represents the international television rights for the BNP Paribas Showdown.

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