ESPN announced Thursday that, as of 2015, it will hold exclusive rights in North and South America to broadcast the US Open from start to championship. The 11-year agreement gives the sports network rights to air three of the four major championships in tennis.
The all-sports network said it will increase the number of hours of US Open coverage from approximately 100 to more than 130 "with the addition of day-long coverage of the 'middle weekend'--Saturday, Sunday and Labor Day Monday." The network had previously shared rights with CBS and Tennis Channel.
ESPN said subscribers will also be able to watch all telecasts on mobile video app WatchESPN, which could help it drive an increase in total viewership for its tennis coverage. Multiplatform distribution could also help ESPN boost ad revenue.
Several distributors have rights deals witih ESPN parent Disney that allow them to offer WatchESPN to subscribers, including Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and AT&T (NYSE: T).
- see the press release
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