CBS Sports Net Not an Option for Open, NFL Coverage in Retrans Dispute

National Cable Service Won't Deliver Broadcaster's Tennis, Football Feeds if TWC Disconnect Continues

For the second year in a row, CBS Sports Network will be stepping onto the coverage court at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.  The national cable network, though, won’t be stepping in as a substitute for CBS’s presentation of the Grand Slam event should the broadcaster’s retransmission-consent disconnect with Time Warner Cable continue into Labor Day weekend.

CBS Sports president Dave Berson said serving up the CBS’s feed from Flushing Meadows is not in play as an alternate means to deliver the broadcaster’s coverage to 3 million TWC customers in eight markets, including New York Los Angeles and Dallas.

Time Warner Cable on Aug. 2 pulled the plug on 13 CBS owned-stations in a dispute over the value of the monthly subscriber fee for the retransmission-consent signals for those outlets, as well as the programmer’s cable properties, Showtime, TMC , Flick and Smithsonian Channel. CBS Sports Network is not part of those deals.

“CBS Sports Network is its own national network, with a separate national feed. We don’t have the technical capability to [make a switch]. And two, most markets will be getting the CBS feed," said Berson in an interview at CBS NFL Media in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon.  “We don’t have any plans to modify our U.S. coverage plans on CBS Sports Network” based on the Time Warner Cable situation.

The cable network will show third- and fourth-round matches not airing on CBS during the 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. window on Aug. 31, Sept. 1 and Labor Day, Sept. 2.

Asked if CBS has been in contact with the other Open rights-holders about potential alternate coverage plans should the blackout continue, Berson said: “We’re in constant communication with the USTA (United States Tennis Association, which administers the event). We have nothing to share at this time.”

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said that from a contractual standpoint CBS Sports Network also could not serve as a substitute outlet for the broadcast network’s coverage of NFL games, which kick off on Sept. 8.