ESPN aces exclusive US Open rights as Canadian deal is extended

The US Tennis Association national governing body has sealed 11-year rights deals for the annual US Open tournament with US pay-television broadcaster ESPN and Canadian pay-television broadcasters TSN and RDS.

ESPN has acquired exclusive US rights for the competition from 2015 to 2025.

The value of the deal is about $825m (€630m), or $75m per year, according to the New York Times newspaper.

In Canada, TSN and its French-language arm, RDS, extended its rights for the same 11-year period, with the deal including exclusive domestic coverage of the finals for the first time.

ESPN’s deal will bring an end to the CBS network’s coverage of the tournament in the US. The network has been a rights-holder of the event since 1968, with ESPN having started broadcasting 100 hours of early-round matches and some second-week contests in 2009.

“We could not come to an agreement with the US Tennis Association that made economic sense for CBS,” Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, told the newspaper. CBS pays about $20m per year in its current deal through to the 2014 event, the report added.

ESPN will show more than 130 hours of coverage per year, plus every match on all 17 courts via ESPN3, its online video platform. WatchESPN, which allows viewers to access coverage via online and mobile platforms as well as Xbox Live games consoles, will also show matches.

ESPN also has full rights in the US for two of the other three ‘grand slam’ tournaments, the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and shows part of the other top competition, the French Open, alongside pay-television broadcaster Tennis Channel and the NBC Network in the US.