Starting in 2015, the USTA will team with ESPN to bring fans more of the US Open than ever before.
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By E.J. Crawford
The only thing better than watching the US Open is watching more of the US Open. Starting in 2015, tennis fans will be able to watch nearly every point played on every court thanks to a new agreement between the USTA and ESPN.
For the first time in the history of the event, you won’t miss a moment of US Open action.
The 11-year agreement, which runs through 2025, includes complete television and digital coverage of the US Open as well as comprehensive coverage of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. The broadcasts will be shown on ESPN and ESPN2, and all US Open matches will be available live through ESPN3, the network’s online streaming service.
"With this agreement, we have the opportunity to go beyond where we are today – to be able to televise every match on every court on different platforms," said Dave Haggerty, USTA Chairman, CEO and President. "By teaming with the worldwide leader in sports, the USTA will continue to ensure that tennis at every level thrives in the United States."
In all, ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast more than 130 hours of live match coverage during the US Open. In addition, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 will combine for full coverage of every match during the first week of the tournament, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. during Labor Day weekend. Those three platforms will continue full, comprehensive coverage through the second week.
The women’s singles semifinals, to be held on the second Thursday of the event starting in 2015, will be shown in prime time on ESPN2, with the remainder of Finals Weekend – the men’s semifinals on Friday, the women’s final on Saturday and the men’s final on Sunday – being shown on ESPN. (For 2013 and 2014, the US Open will have a Monday finish, with the women’s final on Sunday and the men’s final on Monday.)
"ESPN is the strongest brand in sports," said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. "It puts the US Open at the center of American sports culture like never before. And it really gives us access to the multiple platforms that ESPN has, which is the way our fans are going to demand to see the US Open in the future. We think it opens up all kinds of great possibilities."
ESPN also will have an increased presence on-site, with ESPN’s flagship "SportsCenter" program broadcasting live from the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open. ESPN also will cover Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, held the weekend prior to the start of the event.
"We believe in the continued importance of live events, and there’s nothing more important among live events than world-class events like the US Open," said John Skipper, ESPN President, who added, "We look forward to capturing every match, every star, every championship and all the drama on this grand stage."
One of the very first live events covered by ESPN after its launch in September 1979 was the Davis Cup tie between the U.S. and Argentina, won by the Americans, 4-1. The network has since grown to engage 113 million viewers per week across all platforms as the line between broadcast and cable television – as well as digital media – has increasingly blurred.
Moreover, this latest agreement means that, starting in 2015, ESPN now will have complete coverage of three of the four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – as well as of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In addition, ESPN serves as the primary carrier of the French Open and other major tennis events in the U.S., including the Masters Series tournaments in Miami and Indian Wells, Calif.
The 2013 US Open kicks off Monday, Aug. 26, and runs through Monday, Sept. 9.