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River Media Partners agency serves up rights deals for UK Pro Series

River Media Partners, the independent media-rights agency recently launched by Nick Chesworth, Dominic Hayes and Ben Nicholas, has sealed a string of broadcast deals for the climax of the UK Pro Series tennis tournament.

The ‘Classic Week’ of the tournament, which is one of the agency’s first projects, is to receive domestic coverage on free-to-air digital terrestrial channel FreeSports.

River Media Partners has also secured international coverage on Discovery’s Eurosport Player, the subscription OTT platform, and Eleven Sports’ digital platform LIVENow.

A news highlights deal has been agreed with SNTV, the sports video news agency that is a joint venture between IMG and the Associated Press.

The UK Pro Series is being held in Weybridge in Surrey and offers a prize fund of $500,000 (£382,000,500/€424,350). British players such as Naomi Brody (pictured), Harriet Dart, James Ward and Anton Matusevich are all taking part.

River Media Partners said that the event’s “resounding success” means that it will likely return to the calendar in 2021 with nine events in the pipeline across nine months. The agency said that it is currently working with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Jamie Murray’s Battle of the Brits in order to establish complimentary scheduling across next season.

River Media Partners principal Nicholas said: “It has been fantastic to develop a format and event that enables the UK professional tennis players to return to competition and to be able to secure broadcast agreements to give the UK Pro Series such a strong profile.

“We are excited at the prospect of further developing the format into future years and establishing this as one of the go to series of the British Tennis Calendar.

“We are working with the LTA and other UK rights-holders to ensure that the collaborative tennis schedule enables the UK professionals to develop their game and become increasingly competitive at the highest levels.”

Nicholas and Chesworth are former senior media-rights executives at the IMG agency, while Hayes was previously the commercial director at England’s Premiership Rugby.

Upon its launch last month, River Media Partners said that it would “work with federations, rights owners, media platforms, investors and brands to create and distribute sports content opportunities on a global basis”.

Another of the initial projects is the management of media rights to English rugby union’s Greene King Championship and women’s Premier 15 club tournaments in a deal with England’s Rugby Football Union. River Media Partners is also working with Rugby Europe, the administrative body for rugby union in Europe, on the development of its club and international competitions.

Other clients unveiled by River Media Partners upon launch include BT Sport Films, Premier Sports and Stats Perform, along with FitMg, Raceix, SportsMedia Ventures, 26West Sport and 3Rock Production.