Cable Operators

USA, Bravo HD+ Serve Up Open Coverage

7/27/2004 6:53 AM Eastern

USA Network and Bravo HD+ will again play doubles at the U.S. Open Championships later this summer, this time almost doubling the number of Grand Slam tennis hours they will air.

Bravo HD+ will air 65.5 hours of U.S. Open action beginning Aug. 30, up from 36 hours offered last year before the networks became sister services following the merger between NBC and Universal Entertainment.

USA is the longtime cable carrier of the tournament, which is held in Flushing Meadow, N.Y.

During the tourney’s first week, Bravo HD+ will simulcast USA’s nighttime schedule (7 p.m.-11 p.m. EST). In the second week, beginning on Labor Day, Bravo HD+ will offer full coverage every day leading up to the women's-doubles final Sept. 12 at 1 p.m.

NBC Universal Cable officials said the expansion of the enhanced programming comes in response to the cable industry’s desire for more HD fare.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to begin utilizing our newly acquired Universal programming-rights assets by offering this national-championship event in HD," NBC Universal Cable president David Zaslav said in a prepared statement.

"As the industry continues its commitment to accelerate HD growth, Bravo HD+'s lineup offers our affiliates high-quality diversified programming to attract new subscribers to their digital tiers,” he added. “This is the first of many ways NBC Universal will deliver quality programming on new platforms such as HD and VOD [video-on-demand]."

With carriage by systems owned by Cablevision Systems Corp., Mediacom Communications Corp., Cox Communications Inc., Insight Communications Co. Inc., a number of small cable operators and satellite HD service Voom, Bravo HD+ is currently in front of more than 5 million households, according to an NBC Universal Cable spokeswoman.

November