USA Network has aced a six-year renewal deal with the United States Tennis
Association for coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
The new deal, which published reports place at some $125 million, takes
effect with the 2003 Grand Slam event and extends through the 2008 tourney.
USA Network officials declined to comment about deal terms.
USA, whose current contract with the USTA expires with this year's tourney,
will present over 90 hours of coverage from Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York
from Aug. 26 through Sept. 8.
'We're elated to have extended the contract with the USTA. The contract calls
for our same basic schedule-about 90 hours with daytime and primetime coverage,'
said USA Sports senior vice president and executive producer Gordon Beck. 'But
we always stay with the exciting matches to their conclusion. On occasion, we've
been on from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.'
Beck said USA's basic schedule could expand, if CBS is required to carry a
National Football League game in the early window (1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (ET) during
the tourney's first Sunday.
He said that would not be the case this year, or during the first two years
of the extended pact.
USA averaged a 1.5 rating with the Open last year, up 36 percent from its
coverage in 2000.