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Fee
05-09-2008, 06:45 PM
http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?iNewsid=2481454

ESPN will officially fill the bill of "Grand Slam Network" and Tennis Channel will take another step forward as a major player when the USTA formally announces the two networks have acquired U.S. Open cable television rights in a midtown Manhattan press conference set for Monday afternoon.

The USTA has scheduled Monday's press conference to "announce a major television and digital media deal for the U.S. Open and Olympus U.S. Open Series. The new deal will create a unified, summer long 'Open Season' for the sport of tennis," a USTA spokesman said today.

The White Plains-based Tennis Association will formally announce it has completed a deal with ESPN and Tennis Channel for U.S. Open rights on Monday.

USA Network's U.S. Open cable rights expire at the end of the 2008 Flushing Meadows major. ESPN and Tennis Channel will begin televising the U.S. Open in 2009. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Monday's formal announcement will confirm the story Tennis Week broke on April 26 (http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=549812). Sources close to the deal told Tennis Week last month the USTA had come to terms on a contract that would give ESPN and Tennis Channel combined U.S. Open cable rights.

A USTA spokesman denied the TW report at the time.

"The USTA does not have a deal at this time with ESPN or with Tennis Channel," the spokesman told Tennis Week shortly after the Tennis Week story was posted. "USA Network made a proposal to keep the U.S. Open. We continue to discuss the future U.S. Open cable package with a number of interested parties."

Despite that denial, USA Network executives had already confirmed the network would not be renewing its rights and sources close to the deal told Tennis Week an agreement between the USTA, ESPN and TC had been reached.

Rumors circulated for years that ESPN's commitment to televising the U.S. Open Series ó the summer-long series of North American tournaments leading up to the season's final major in New York City ó came with an implied agreement from the USTA that when USA Network's contract for Open rights came to an end, ESPN would take over as the Open's cable television home. When the USTA became an investor in Tennis Channel it fueled further speculation that the groundwork had been set for an ESPN/TC broadcast partnership for the Open: the networks already share coverage of the Australian Open and French Open.

ESPN officials would not confirm such an agreement existed in past interviews with Tennis Week (http://www.tennisweek.com//news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=502774).

ESPN has televised the U.S. Open Series since its inception and its partnership with the USTA on the U.S. Open Series made its eventual acquisition of U.S. Open rights seemingly inevitable.

In recent years, Bristol-based ESPN reduced its its coverage of Masters Series events and Davis Cup opting instead to invest its resources and programming time televising the Grand Slams and U.S. Open Series events.

ESPN did not renew its rights for Davis Cup, the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, the Tennis Masters Cup and the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships. It was a shift in programming strategy as the network now focuses its tennis coverage primarily on the three majors ó the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon ó that it already telecasts either solely or in partnership with the Tennis Channel.

The new deal should exponentially expand both the tennis audience for the Open and the ad revenue for ESPN.

In return, the USTA should receive unprecedented levels of exposure for its crown jewel, the U.S. Open, by gaining its most comprehensive coverage of the tournament (CBS owns network rights to the Open). Since ESPN can shift late-running matches between three potential networks ó ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic ó instances of viewers missing the conclusion of late-night matches that could occur on occasion when USA Network cut away at 11 p.m. Eastern time for regularly-scheduled programming should be reduced.

Pontential web streaming of U.S. Open Series events and the U.S. Open would generate even greater exposure for the Open translating into more advertising and sponsorship dollars for the USTA, which recently announced Olympus has taken over as title sponsor of the U.S. Open Series (http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=523566).

The network that has long billed itself as "The Grand Slam Network" will complete its cable television Grand Slam sweep starting next year while Tennis Channel now owns or shares rights to three of the four majors.

Interestingly, Tennis Channel is not available in many parts of Westchester County, New York meaning the USTA cannot get Tennis Channel through Cablevision in its White Plains headquarters. The USTA reports it does receive TC through DirecTV.

Tennis Week will update this story after Monday's press conference in Manhattan.

jmsx521
05-09-2008, 06:53 PM
What's going to happen to that Michael commentator guy from USA Network? He was a character to watch!?

Fedexeon
05-12-2008, 04:45 AM
A summary of the US Open coverage will be in 2009

First Week

* ESPN2: Live every weekday from 1-6 pm and primetime from 7-11 p.m.
* Tennis Channel: Live every weekday from 11-2 p.m.; live outer court coverage from 2-6 p.m.; daily Preview Show from 10-11a.m.; nightly Highlight Show from 11-3 a.m.; nightly encore of matches from 3-10 a.m. each night.

Labor Day Weekend

* CBS Sports: Live coverage from 11-6 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
* ESPN2: Live coverage on Monday from 7-11 p.m.
* Tennis Channel: Live coverage on Saturday and Sunday from 7-11 p.m.; nightly Highlight Show from 11-3 a.m.; nightly encore of matches from 3-10 a.m.

Second Week/Quarterfinals

* ESPN2: Live every weekday from 11-6 pm and live primetime quarterfinals from 7-11 p.m.
* Tennis Channel: Live outer court coverage from 11-6 p.m.; daily Preview Show from 10-11 a.m.; nightly Highlight Show at 11 p.m.; nightly encore of matches from 3-10 a.m.

Finals Weekend

* CBS: Live coverage during Finals weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including the Menís Doubles Final, the Menís and Womenís Semifinals, the Womenís Primetime Final on Saturday night and the Menís Final on Sunday.
* ESPN2: Live coverage of Womenís Doubles Final at 1 p.m. Sunday; U.S. Open Wrap-Up Show from 8-10 p.m.

babolatking
05-12-2008, 07:34 AM
here is the link from ESPN:

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=3391641

Klatu Verata Necktie
05-12-2008, 09:32 AM
That's great news. I'm glad to hear that ESPN didn't drop its Masters Series events due to lack of interest in tennis, but rather to readjust its strategy.

Rabbit
05-12-2008, 10:37 AM
Well, I have to say that I did enjoy USA's coverage of the US Open. They did a great job and their coverage, IMO, was better than ESPN's of like tournaments. USA would stay on the air until the match finished no matter how long it took.

That said, as a Tennis Channel subscriber, I am also glad to see the Tennis Channel making more inroads. The more they can monopolize, the more demand there should be for their product and the more solvent they'll be. I just hope they aren't over reaching their pocket books right now and putting their future in jeopardy.

Fee
05-13-2008, 12:52 PM
I hope you are right, Rabbit. I'm hoping that the Slam coverage will increase TTC's rankings, then increase their revenue, and help them increase their coverage of other tournaments in the long run (perhaps IW and Miami?). It would be nice if this deal also encouraged more cable systems to add them to their channels lineups in the next 12 months.

Eastern Technifibre
05-13-2008, 01:05 PM
yahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

VGP
05-13-2008, 01:07 PM
Fee - does that mean we'll be seeing more of Justin Gimelstob?

Fee
05-13-2008, 01:29 PM
I don't know. I think his contract with TTC is for this year only, with an option. Guess we'll have to wait and see what happens. TTC and ESPN will both have to add a few more people I suppose.

Rabbit
05-13-2008, 01:36 PM
I hope you are right, Rabbit. I'm hoping that the Slam coverage will increase TTC's rankings, then increase their revenue, and help them increase their coverage of other tournaments in the long run (perhaps IW and Miami?). It would be nice if this deal also encouraged more cable systems to add them to their channels lineups in the next 12 months.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if, in 5 years or so, all tournaments except the Grand Slams were on the Tennis Channel.

zacinnc78
05-13-2008, 01:38 PM
yea i was just thinking while ago how much it costs to have atp mastertv and how little i been using since ttc has been covering more...so the more the merrier

ezdude1970
05-13-2008, 01:58 PM
even though, i love the USA network coverage, i feel that ESPN and TTC will do a good job covering US OPen, mainly because TTC has been very good and is my favorite chanel on TV.

Moreover, i want to thank TTC for the HD upgrade, I have been watching Hamburg in HD and it brings tears to my eyes. Keep up a good job!

Aeropro master
05-13-2008, 03:17 PM
thanks, good post fee

Rabbit
05-13-2008, 05:10 PM
yeah, let me second that Fee. I do appreciate your inside track on this kind of info, it is very helpful.

Fedexeon
05-14-2008, 02:43 AM
I think this is a good thing, if the end result is tennis fans get to watch more tennis.

And its is nice to see Tennis Channel growing.

strife726
05-14-2008, 04:07 AM
I personally thought that USA's coverage of the open was better then any networks coverage of a slam. They would show more courts, more matches, and tend to cut away on those one sided early matches on AA. Many times i remember their coverage even running from 11am-11pm, with no break.

Its funny to see people who think the US Open going to ESPN as a good thing after all the hate it got in the past for its "coverage".

fantom
05-14-2008, 04:52 AM
I personally thought that USA's coverage of the open was better then any networks coverage of a slam. They would show more courts, more matches, and tend to cut away on those one sided early matches on AA. Many times i remember their coverage even running from 11am-11pm, with no break.

Its funny to see people who think the US Open going to ESPN as a good thing after all the hate it got in the past for its "coverage".


I agree. I'm a little hesitant about ESPN taking over the US Open. At least with USA coverage, you knew for certain that tennis would be on TV. Most likely LIVE tennis. With ESPN's sketchy track record I don't feel you can count on them. I guess the programming will be shifted to TTC if ESPN deems that they'll get more viewers by airing poker or something.

JackSkellington
05-14-2008, 06:32 AM
That's great news. I'm glad to hear that ESPN didn't drop its Masters Series events due to lack of interest in tennis, but rather to readjust its strategy.

Terrible news. ESPN has done a **** poor job at covering their tennis events and would rather show fishing live

Thrasher
05-14-2008, 08:45 AM
Does anyone know why USA is dropping their coverage? I was always extreemly impressed with their coverage of the Open and can't figure out why they would want to drop it.

Fee
05-14-2008, 09:18 AM
Does anyone know why USA is dropping their coverage? I was always extreemly impressed with their coverage of the Open and can't figure out why they would want to drop it.

Couple of things have been brought up in assorted reports... NBC owns USA and NBC made the decision that USA network would back away from sports coverage entirely (with the exception of the Olympics). I believe they are also letting their golf contracts expire, but someone who is a fan of that sport will have to confirm that.

There were reports that USA made an offer, but it was not the price that the USTA wanted and USA was not willing to go much higher. Again, this is an NBC property and NBC as a whole probably wants to put it's money elsewhere (like its incredibly expensive coverage of the Olympics for the next whatever years).

And finally as mentioned in the piece above, ESPN and the USTA may have had an unwritten agreement that the entire USO series would end up at ESPN (and TTC) eventually. In the long run, that could be a good thing for US tennis fans, knowing that there will be tennis on TV every Thurs - Sunday during July and August.

Thrasher
05-14-2008, 11:09 AM
Thanks for the info Fee. I didn't know that NBC owned USA. Oh well I hope that ESPN can do just as good of a job that USA has done in the past. I'll have my fingers crossed on that one.

coloskier
05-14-2008, 11:19 AM
Thanks for the info Fee. I didn't know that NBC owned USA. Oh well I hope that ESPN can do just as good of a job that USA has done in the past. I'll have my fingers crossed on that one.

I thought that CBS owned USA, but I could be wrong.

Fee
05-14-2008, 11:32 AM
NBC owns it, that's why the Olympics have been shown there in the past (USA, CNBC, MSNBC). Monk is shown on NBC from time to time, and at the very bottom of the USA website, it says 'NBC Universal, Inc.' http://www.usanetwork.com/

coloskier
05-14-2008, 11:44 AM
NBC owns it, that's why the Olympics have been shown there in the past (USA, CNBC, MSNBC). Monk is shown on NBC from time to time, and at the very bottom of the USA website, it says 'NBC Universal, Inc.' http://www.usanetwork.com/

OK, I stand corrected. It's been so long since I've watched USA. I know they used to show the Master's at Augusta on USA on Thursday and Friday, and CBS owns the rights to it, so that is why I made the assumption.

Fee
05-14-2008, 11:47 AM
OK, I stand corrected. It's been so long since I've watched USA. I know they used to show the Master's at Augusta on USA on Thursday and Friday, and CBS owns the rights to it, so that is why I made the assumption.

Ahh, I thought it was because CBS showed the US Open on weekends. I didn't know about the golf connection (see, not a fan at all just casually pay attention to what Tiger does from time to time). :)

You don't watch USA? How on earth do you get your fix for 75 episodes of Law and Order per day? ;)

coloskier
05-14-2008, 12:10 PM
Ahh, I thought it was because CBS showed the US Open on weekends. I didn't know about the golf connection (see, not a fan at all just casually pay attention to what Tiger does from time to time). :)

You don't watch USA? How on earth do you get your fix for 75 episodes of Law and Order per day? ;)

Too busy watching the Tennis Channel. :)

Fee
05-14-2008, 12:47 PM
Best answer ever (but only during weeks when they are showing the European Masters events for 21 hours a day). lol. :)

coloskier
05-14-2008, 01:19 PM
Yeah,, the only sleep I get is at work. :) (When I am not watching it on Channelsurfing.net)

BreakPoint
05-14-2008, 01:26 PM
Best answer ever (but only during weeks when they are showing the European Masters events for 21 hours a day). lol. :)
Actually it's only for 20 hours a day. The only time they're NOT showing it are from 12:00am - 2:00am PST and from 12:00pm - 2:00pm PST. What a rip-off! Only 20 hours a day of coverage when there's a full 24 hours in a day? We're being short-changed! I want MORE Master's coverage! ;-) :lol: LOL j/k