US Open exclusively on ESPN in '15
The US Open tennis tournament will be aired exclusively on ESPN networks beginning with the 2015 tournament.
The U.S. Tennis Association and ESPN announced an 11-year deal on Thursday. It includes 130-plus hours of television coverage from the first serve through the men's finals. All telecasts will be on WatchESPN, and ESPN3 will show every match on all 17 tournament courts (up from six in the current agreement).
The tournament finals, and weekend play, had been carried by CBS since 1968. ESPN began televising 100 hours of early-round and some second-week matches in 2009.
"Certain sporting events become synonymous with when they are held, and there is no better -- or bigger -- way to celebrate the end of summer than at the US Open in New York," ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement. "We look forward to capturing every match, every star, every championship and all the drama on this grand stage."
Included in ESPN's new rights are the middle weekend of play, including Labor Day, plus the men's and women's semifinals and finals. Starting in 2015, the women's semifinals will be played on a Thursday in prime time, with the men's semifinals taking place on Friday. The women's finals will be on Saturday and the men's finals on Sunday.
ESPN will now have complete rights to the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. ESPN also televises parts of the French Open, along with Tennis Channel and NBC.
The agreement also includes the five-week Emirates Airline US Open Series and the Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, which takes place the Sunday before the main tournament begins.