ESPN, Tennis Channel Get U.S. Open Cable Rights

ESPN and Tennis Channel secured the rights to present the U.S. Open, starting in 2009.

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, 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”

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.