In two years’ time the US Open will begin to be aired in the US by ESPN instead of CBS, in a move which has been welcomed by many tennis fans. The reported deal is one which will last eleven years, and was priced at an estimated $770 million, demonstrating both the financial muscle of ESPN and their dedication to tennis as a key tenet of their scheduling.
This kind of investment alone leaves US tennis fans hopeful that ESPN will be dedicated to delivering the highest possible quality coverage of the tournament, and this would come as a welcome change from the problems which have arisen from CBS’ coverage in recent years. In 2010 The network pushed for the rain-delayed men’s final to be moved to Monday in order to not encroach on their primetime scheduling. Then, following further rain on the Monday, CBS actually abandoned their coverage entirely, meaning that viewers had to switch to ESPN2 to see the tournament finale.
So, it is hardly surprising that American viewers are pleased to hear that ESPN are taking up the baton, and whilst some of ESPN’s gimmicks aren’t favourites with tennis fans the change of network is likely to be welcomed with open arms.