Includes All ESPN Platforms, Expanded Digital Rights
ESPN, Inc. and Tennis Australia have reached a new 10-year extension thru 2021 of ESPN’s multimedia coverage of the Australian Open. 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.
The new agreement takes effect in 2012 and includes all ESPN platforms. It continues the extensive ESPN2 television coverage, Spanish-language U.S. rights for ESPN Deportes and distribution in Latin America via ESPN International (2012-16). It also includes expanded rights for ESPN3.com, iTV (interactive television), and highlights on ESPN.com and other emerging and digital media, including ESPN Mobile TV.
“Tennis fans know to start the year with ESPN and the Australian Open, the First Grand Slam, a great event combining the best in tennis with the beauty of summer from Down Under,” said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. “In January we expanded live coverage of the Australian Open to great success. We’re happy to work with Tennis Australia across all platforms to reach fans wherever they are.”
Steve Wood, CEO of the Australian Open, said, “ESPN’s coverage over the years continues to be both innovative and extensive. The sheer breadth and quality of the coverage is of the highest standard and gives Australian Open fans incredible insight into so many different aspects of our event. We’re delighted to continue this successful relationship.”
This year, the Australian Open, exclusively on ESPN2, experienced a six percent increase in household viewership for live play, with an average of 427,000 homes watching the largely overnight telecasts. In addition, the Australian Open accounted for nearly one million hours of action viewed on ESPN3.com, and 10.9 million page views on ESPN.com, more than double the 4.7 of 2009.
ESPN – All Four Grand Slams. All in One Place.
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and has provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other network had ever done.
ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call.
Almost all the tennis is found on ESPN2, giving the network the identity as the destination for tennis fans and giving the sport a home that is flexible enough to carry extensive live programming – and adding to the schedule as storylines dictate. ESPN and ESPN2 both reach 99 million households nationwide. Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, broadband ESPN3.com, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.