ESPN, Tennis Channel Get U.S. Open Cable Rights
Six-Year Deal Begins in 2009
By Alex Weprin -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/12/2008 9:33:00 AM
The six-year deal will give ESPN rights to broadcast the matches on all of its networks, most heavily on ESPN2, as well as on ESPN360.com, the network’s digital-video hub. ESPN2 will present approximately 100 hours of live coverage from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens annually.
Tennis Channel will present more than 60 hours of live coverage, including two exclusive primetime blocks during the first Saturday and Sunday of the tournament. The network will also launch a nightly news and highlights program, U.S. Open Tonight, during the two-week event.
“Tennis has provided many memorable moments in ESPN history, and to finally acquire the excitement and drama of the U.S. Open is a crowning achievement, truly making ESPN2 ‘The Grand Slam Network,’” executive vice president of content John Skipper said. “The sport is a perfect fit for our growing digital businesses, and fans will know to find the best tennis action all year on ESPN2 and on ESPN360.com.”
The deal gives ESPN a “grand slam” of sorts: The network now broadcasts all four major worldwide tennis tournaments -- the Wimbledon Championships, the French Open, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open.
Prior to the new deal, USA Network had long been the home of U.S. Open coverage on cable, dating back to 1984.
It is outrageous that the Tennis Channel is unavailable on Cablevision, the monopolist carrier in Westchester, home of USTA. There must be some anti-monopoly laws to fix this sad state of affairs.
Mary Mondello - 5/29/2008 10:48:00 PM EDT
I thought CBS has a deal through 2011 for over-the-air coverage of weekend-afternoon and championship-round play of the U.S. Open Tennis tournament.
Will the new ESPN/Tennis Channel deal give those networks weekend-afternoon and championship-round matches of the Open after the CBS deal ends? Or will those matches stay on broadcast TV?
Joseph Gallant - 5/12/2008 2:22:00 PM EDT
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