WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 12, 2008 — The USTA, ESPN and Tennis Channel today announced a groundbreaking television and multi-platform partnership creating a summer-long “Open Season” for tennis featuring more than 400 national television hours for the US Open and the Olympus US Open Series — an increase of nearly 100 hours.
Commencing in 2009, ESPN and Tennis Channel will join CBS, and become the US Open cable television broadcasters for the first time. Under the new deal, the US Open will receive 200 hours of total coverage, an increase of over 50 hours — the most in US Open history. This marks the first time that the Series and the US Open will be carried by the same cable broadcast partner — creating a more consistent TV package for the sport. For 2008, USA Network will remain the US Open’s exclusive cable broadcaster.
For 2009 and beyond, ESPN2 will become the lead cable broadcaster for the US Open and the Olympus US Open Series, broadcasting nearly 200 hours of tennis coverage during the eight-week North American summer tennis season. Tennis Channel, which continues as a Series broadcaster with nearly 150 hours of Series coverage, will now also broadcast more than 60 hours of live US Open coverage. For the first time, Tennis Channel also will broadcast daily US Open preview and highlight shows. CBS Sports will continue to broadcast nearly 40 hours of live US Open coverage — bringing the overall national coverage of tennis during the summer season to more than 400 hours.
The six-year deal will also deliver the US Open across multiple platforms including ESPN, ESPN2, Tennis Channel, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, ESPN360 broadband programming, ESPN.com, TennisChannel.com, and ESPN Mobile Properties. In addition, USOpen.org retains all rights to live streaming of US Open matches.
“This completes a five-year process of reinventing the television and digital landscape for the sport of tennis in North America,” said Arlen Kantarian, CEO Pro Tennis, USTA. “Tennis will now be prominently featured for eight straight weeks on ESPN — the premiere destination in sports; Tennis Channel — our sport’s namesake network; and CBS — our longtime network partner. This new partnership will provide more tennis, to more people, in more ways than ever before.”
“Tennis has provided many memorable moments in ESPN history, and to finally acquire the excitement and drama of the US Open is a crowning achievement,” said John Skipper, ESPN Executive Vice President, Content. “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.”
US Open Television Coverage
ESPN’s US Open coverage will include approximately 100 hours, including weekday afternoon coverage and exclusive weekday primetime broadcasts. Tennis Channel will broadcast more than 60 live hours from the US Open, including exclusive primetime broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday evenings of Labor Day weekend. Below is a summary of the schedule and a full US Open TV schedule is attached:
• ESPN2: Live every weekday from 1-6 pm and primetime from 7-11 pm.
• Tennis Channel: Live every weekday from 11-2 pm; live outer court coverage from 2-6 pm; daily Preview Show from 10-11am; nightly Highlights Show at 11pm followed by encore of matches until 10 am the next morning.
Labor Day Weekend
• CBS: Live coverage from 11-6 pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
• ESPN2: Live coverage on Monday from 7-11 pm.
• Tennis Channel: Live coverage on Saturday and Sunday from 7-11 pm; nightly Highlights Show at 11pm followed by encore of matches until 10 am the next morning.
• ESPN2: Live Tuesday — Thursday from 11-6 pm and live primetime quarterfinals from 7-11 pm.
• Tennis Channel: Live outer court coverage from 11-6 pm; daily Preview Show from 10-11am; nightly Highlights Show at 11pm followed by encore of matches until 10 am the next morning.
• CBS: Live coverage during Finals weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including the Men’s Doubles Final, the Men’s and Women’s Semifinals, the Women’s Primetime Final on Saturday night and the Men’s Final on Sunday.
• ESPN2: Live coverage of Women’s Doubles Final at 1 pm Sunday; US Open Wrap-Up Show from 8-10 pm.
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