An 11-year, reported $770 million rights deal with ESPN and the U.S. Tennis Association announced Thursday will end CBS’ long-time relationship with the U.S. Open starting in 2015 and provide far more flexibility for viewers of the last Grand Slam event of the sport’s season.
CBS has been carrying the U.S. Open back to 1968, and it will have the next two women’s and men’s championships, usually held on the first week of the NFL regular season, before its deal ends in 2014.
CBS and ESPN currently share U.S. Open rights, and ESPN has sold off some of its coverage to Tennis Channel.
“We have all the respect for CBS and what they’ve done with this event, and I would submit to you fairly categorically that we expect the audience for the US Open to increase, not to decrease,” said ESPN president John Skipper, in response to questions about the ratings on CBS dwindling in recently years. “We presented last year a coherent start-to-finish presentation of Wimbledon and the audience went up, it did not go down. Continue reading