On Thursday, ESPN and the United States Tennis Association announced a landmark, 11-year agreement making the network the exclusive home of the US Open starting in 2015.
With this new deal adding about 30 hours of US Open television coverage to the 100 or so ESPN has aired since 2009 — including Labor Day weekend, the semifinals in prime time and both the women’s and men’s finals — and countless hours on ESPN3 covering the outer courts, ESPN will now air the championship in three of the four tennis majors.
In addition, all telecasts will be available on WatchESPN. In an expansion of offerings, over the term of the agreement ESPN will make every match on all 17 tournament courts available on ESPN3, up from six.
Jason Bernstein, Senior Director, Programming & Acquisitions, oversees ESPN’s tennis business — the acquisition and scheduling of content and working with rightsholders to maximize the relationship.
He spoke to Front Row after the announcement to discuss the new agreement; how it will enhance the network’s “tennis narrative”; the extensive use of ESPN3, the plans for potential weather issues and ESPN’s overall tennis strategy.