Just received this press release from ESPN. It’s been announced that ESPN2 and Tennis Channel will continue to share coverage of both the Australian and French Opens. For the French, this means that ESPN2 will begin its coverage at 5 a.m. It had been jumping in at noon, meaning most of the live coverage had been on Tennis Channel. Now ESPN’s coverage starting in 2012 will begin at 5 a.m. and run until 10 a.m. Tennis Channel will join at 10 a.m.
For the Australian Open, Tennis Channel will begin its coverage nightly at 7 p.m. Eastern. ESPN2 will then join in for late night coverage running throughout the overnight hours as Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of the US East Coast. This new arrangement will begin with the 2013 Australian Open.
And it’s a more consistent schedule for the Australian Open as some days ESPN2 would begin at 7 p.m. or Tennis Channel would. Now fans will be able to find the matches easier.
We have the press release from ESPN2. I expect to get one from Tennis Channel shortly.
Alliance with Tennis Channel Continues Virtual 24/7 Coverage of Australian and French Opens
ESPN and Tennis Channel have agreed to a new four-year, multimedia programming alliance for the Australian and French Opens. ESPN and TC will continue to air action from both Grand Slam events, but in a key change ESPN’s telecast windows of the French Open will now be virtually all live, generally starting at 5 a.m. ET for five hours. In addition, extensive schedules of action will continue on all ESPN platforms, including ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Mobile TV, the WatchESPNApp, ESPN Interactive TV and ESPNNetworks.com under the new deal, which takes effect with the 2012 French Open and the 2013 Australian Open.
As under the current arrangement, ESPN will televise more than 50 hours from Paris, starting with the first day of the tournament, a Sunday, and concluding with the women’s semifinals live on the second Thursday of the event. ESPN’s Australian Open schedule – part of an agreement with Tennis Australia that runs through 2021 – will continue to total more than 120 hours with daily marathon late-night live telecasts, including the men’s and women’s semifinals and championships. Having televised the Australian Open – including the women’s and men’s semifinals and finals exclusively – since 1984, this is ESPN’s longest uninterrupted professional sports programming relationship. Also, ESPN3.com will present live action during both ESPN’s and TC’s telecast windows from both events.
“Sports fans want to see the action live and that’s how we deliver tennis and all our sports,” said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. “Tennis fans are among the most dedicated – willing to stay up or get up to see live competition – and that’s what we will provide for years to come from Melbourne and Paris. In addition, we look forward to continuing our relationship with Tennis Channel to best serve tennis fans at both events.”
At the French Open, Tennis Channel air 60 live hours, following ESPN at 10 a.m., plus studio programming with highlights in prime time. TC will televise up to 100 hours from Australia – approximately 30 hours of live play plus studio shows in prime time.
Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, Tennis Channel, said, “Not only is there more championship-caliber tennis on television week-after-week than ever before, but consistent, daily schedules allow fans to follow and enjoy this sport in a way that was impossible even just a few years ago. With this arrangement there will be no more guesswork during the Australian Open: just turn your TV on when you get home at 7 o’clock and we’ll be there live, night after night. Tennis fans are the big winners here, as has been the case ever since Tennis Channel and ESPN started working together”
That does it for this post.