ESPN Serves First Ball to Last Ball Exclusively at the US Open

Tennis

ESPN Serves First Ball to Last Ball Exclusively at the US Open

  • 130+ Hours on TV; ESPN App home to Every Match from all Courts
  • ESPN’s Biggest Production of the Year
  • Serena Goes for Record-Tying 24th Grand Slam Title; Djokovic Seeks His 18th
  • Fields also Include Gauff, Osaka, 2019 Finalist Medvedev, Thiem, Tsitsipas, Top-Seeded Pliskova, Venus Williams, Isner, Keys and Kenin

The stands at the biggest tennis stadium in the world will be empty, but ESPN will again have exclusive live coverage with daily marathon telecasts from the US Open beginning Monday, Aug. 31, and concluding with the Women’s and Men’s Championships, Saturday, Sept. 12, and Sunday the 13th, respectively.  Between 136 hours on television and every match on the ESPN App, all courts from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be covered.  Also, the day before the first ball in the air, ESPN2 will air SportsCenter at the US Open at 11 a.m. ET to preview the tournament Sunday, Aug. 30.

The leading storylines entering the tournament see three-time champion Novak Djokovic seeking his 18th Major title while Serena Williams aims to tie the all-time record of 24 Major championships.

ESPN’s Largest Production of the Year

The US Open – for which ESPN won the Sports Emmy last year in the category Technical Team Remote – is ESPN’s largest production of the year, in part because of the role as host broadcaster, providing coverage for networks around the world.  Some fun facts:

  • In total, more than 600 people on site.
  • The entire tournament is covered, all 13 courts, with most days lasting 12 or more hours.
  • Coverage is provided to broadcasters in virtually every corner of the globe.
  • Equipment: 10 40’ sea containers (63,000 kg), plus air freight (35,000 kg) and road containers (25,000) totaling 9,500 pieces of technical equipment.
  • 12 control rooms, 10 TraACES ViBox production suites, two host sets, and 134 cameras including 25 in Arthur Ashe Stadium and three aerial cameras.
  • 22,000-square-feet of production space created specifically for the US Open.

ESPN also debuted a new promotional spot this week for the 2020 US Open, featuring voiceover from Grammy winning singer and Oscar nominated actress, Queen Latifah. The spot exudes the spirit and resilience of New York City and the history of legends being made at the tournament.

Highlights

  • The first five days, marathon TV windows begin on ESPN at noon and will continue nonstop –transitioning at 6 p.m. to ESPN2 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at 5 p.m. on Tuesday – through both the day and the 7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM sessions until play is concluded.
  • On Thursday, Sept. 3, from 7 – 9 p.m. ESPN2 will supplement ESPN’s prime-time coverage from Ashe Stadium, with action from Armstrong Stadium, similar to ESPN’s “Cross-Court Coverage” at Wimbledon.
  • On Labor Day Weekend, action starts at 11 a.m. all three days (ESPN2 on Saturday and Monday, ESPN on Sunday before transitioning to ESPN2 at 7 p.m.) and will continue 12 or more hours.
  • Quarterfinal matches on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and Wednesday, Sept. 9, are on ESPN, starting at noon (to 6 p.m. or later) and resuming at 7 p.m., on ESPN on Tuesday and ESPN2 on Wednesday.
  • The women’s semifinals and championship will be played the second Thursday (at 7 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m.) on ESPN. The men’s semis will be on the second Friday (4 p.m. on ESPN) with the Men’s Championship on Sunday, Sept. 8 (4 p.m.), on ESPN.  A one-hour preview show will precede the Men’s Championship on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. and transitioning to ESPN at 3:30 p.m.
  • Spanish-language ESPN Deportes will carry 70 hours of coverage on TV with more on the ESPN app, including action every day, culminating with all the semifinals and both singles championships with a 30-minute preview show before the men’s final.
  • Throughout the tournament, fans can enjoy action from every court for men’s and women’s singles and doubles between the TV coverage and the ESPN app – including select matches on ESPN+ — which starts with first ball each day – at 11 a.m. through Wednesday, Sept. 5, and at noon the final four days.
  • ESPN2 will also televise the two doubles championships: Men’s on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 3 p.m.; and Women’s on Friday, Sept. 11, at noon.
  • The ESPN App will once again add an additional feed – “US Open Multicam” – with three boxes, the primary TV view, plus two more, each focusing on one player.  Usage will begin with the quarterfinals, and continue through the championships. The app will also have a “DataCenter” screen for the semifinals and championships.

The ESPN Tennis Team for the US Open:

  • James Blake makes his ESPN debut at the US Open as an analyst. Once ranked as high as No. 4 in the world, Blake won 10 titles during his playing career (1999-2013) and seven additional in doubles.  He was part of the 2007 victorious U.S. Davis Cup team and placed fourth at the 2008 Olympics.  The tournament director of the Miami Open, his memoir, Breaking Back, was a New York Times Best Seller.
  • Darren Cahill, who once reached the US Open semifinals and the Australian Open doubles finals and went on to coach fellow Australian Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, has worked for ESPN since 2007. Currently the coach of Simona Halep, the No. 1 player in the world and recent French Open champion, he will serve as an analyst for men’s matches.
  • Cliff Drysdale, who was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in July 2013, has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in September 1979 (Davis Cup, U.S. vs. Argentina). He reached the US Open finals and is a two-time Wimbledon and French Open semifinalist.  Drysdale was a leader on the court – a top player for many years who was one of the first to use a two-hand backhand – and off the court, as the first president of the ATP.
  • Chrissie Evert, a Hall of Famer who joined ESPN in 2011, counts a record six US Opens among her 18 Major titles. She recorded the best career win-loss record in history, reached more Major singles finals than any man or woman (34), and reached the semis or better in 34 consecutive Majors (1971-83).  The AP Female Athlete of the Year four times, in 1976 she was the first woman to be the sole recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year.
  • Mary Joe Fernandez, an ESPN analyst since 2000, played in three Major singles finals and won two Majors in doubles, and won a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and a Bronze in singles in 1992.  She was the coach of the United States’ Fed Cup team for eight years, stepping down in 2016, and coached the 2012 and ’16 U.S. women’s Olympic team.
  • Chris Fowler – who joined ESPN in 1986, is the lead ESPN/ABC college football play caller and joined the ESPN tennis team in 2003 – is the primary voice calling matches. He hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays 1990-2014, and has hosted World Cup soccer, college basketball including the Final Four, the X Games and Triple Crown horse racing events.  Originally, he was the first host of Scholastic Sports America and later was a SportsCenter
  • Brad Gilbert, whose flair and unique nicknames for players have enlivened ESPN’s tennis telecasts since 2004, parlayed his playing career – once reaching the quarterfinals of the US Open and at Wimbledon – into coaching Andre Agassi (six Major titles with Brad), Andy Roddick (US Open victory) and Andy Murray.
  • Jason Goodall will serve as a studio and match analyst and calls matches. A one-time standout among Juniors in Britain whose career was ended by injury at 21, he later coached ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver and the British Fed Cup team.
  • Bethanie Mattek-Sands will again split time between playing and visiting as a guest analyst. She also will provide a unique look behind-the-scenes from the players’ hotel.  The 35-year old from Minnesota has captured five Major doubles titles, plus four Major mixed doubles crowns and an Olympic Gold Medal in mixed doubles in 2016.
  • John McEnroe won four US Open crowns – plus three at Wimbledon – during his storied career, which included 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles. He also led the U.S. to four Davis Cup titles and won the NCAA’s while attending Stanford.  He has worked for ESPN since 2009.
  • Patrick McEnroe, who has worked for ESPN since 1995, was the U.S. Davis Cup captain 2001-2010 and in 2007 the team won its first championship since 1995.  A three-time singles All-American at Stanford – where the team won NCAA titles in 1986 and 1988 – he served as General Manager, USTA Elite Player Development from 2008 – 2015.  He won the 1992 French Open doubles title and reached the 1991 Australian Open semifinals in singles.
  • Chris McKendry returns as host, a role she has filled at all the tennis Majors for ESPN. She joined ESPN in 1996 as a SportsCenter anchor, and later hosted the Little League World Series and X Games before focusing on tennis beginning in 2016.  She attended Drexel University on a tennis scholarship.
  • Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach since 2012, will again serve as a guest analyst. He has helped her to unprecedented success deep into her ‘30s – 10 Major titles, an Olympic Gold Medal and at times a stranglehold on the WTA No. 1 ranking.  A longtime coach, including great results over seven years with Marcos Baghdatis.
  • Tom Rinaldi will serve as a reporter and will call matches. Since 2003, his features and interviews have graced a wide variety of ESPN programs – including SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, E:60 and event telecasts such as Wimbledon, golf’s Majors, college football and more – winning numerous Sports Emmy Awards.
  • Pam Shriver, who started working for ESPN in 1990, long before her Hall of Fame career ended, played in the US Open finals at age 16 (losing to Evert) and won 21 Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles (another in Mixed) including five at the US Open plus a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1988 Olympics.
  • Alexandra Stevenson returns for her second US Open with the ESPN tennis team as an analyst. At the 1999 Wimbledon, she burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old, becoming the first qualifier to reach the semifinals. Injuries marred her later career, but she did peak in the rankings at No. 18 in 2002.
  • Rennae Stubbs, who enjoyed a long career in doubles – winning six Majors: four in women’s and two in mixed, representing Australia at four Olympic Games and for 17 years in Fed Cup – will be an analyst. She’s worked for ESPN for many years, and for NBC at the Olympics and for Tennis Channel.
  • Caroline Wozniacki will join the conversation as a guest analyst for the later portion of week two. The former world No. 1-ranked player, 2018 Australian Open champ and two-time US Open finalist, retired as a player following this year’s Australian Open.   

MORE TV & DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD

ESPN.com will have extensive previews, reviews, analysis, the latest news, polls, videos and more.

Past Great US Matches Available on Demand via ESPN+; Extensive Schedule on ESPN Classic

Fans can watch 50 great US Open matches from the past on demand from ESPN+.  The offerings go back as far as the 1971 Women’s Championship (Billie Jean King defeated Rosemary Casals in straight sets) and extend to the most recent Men’s and Women’s Championships.  In addition, ESPN Classic will air an extensive schedule of memorable matches August 28 (starting at 8 a.m.) to August 31.  

ESPN will provide multi-screen coverage on AT&T DirecTV, During the ESPN telecast windows for the first six days, a five-screen mosaic will include the ESPN program, along with matches with commentary from five other courts. On day seven, it will be a four-screen mosaic.  Sam Gore will host with Luke Jensen and Rennae Stubbs.  Production will be enhanced with press conferences, interviews and features that will be added during court changeovers and between matches.  All screens can be expanded to full screen or picture-in-picture at the touch of the remote button.  In addition, DirecTV will offer interactive social media options for fans, plus real-time scoring and draws – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching.

ESPN International will offer extensive high-definition US Open coverage throughout the Caribbean, Oceania and Latin America including Brazil via its numerous regional media platforms.

  • ESPN Caribbean and ESPN in the Pacific Rim will televise the first ball through to the final in English, totaling more than 130 live hours. Additionally, Pac Rim will air a 30-minute daily show totaling 55 more hours of content, again hosted by Stephanie Brantz and Mark Donaldson.
  • In Spanish-speaking Latin America, ESPN will televise a total of 183 hours of live action, as well as preview shows leading into the men’s semifinals and final and women’s finals.  Veterans Luis Alfredo Alvarez and Eduardo Varela will provide the Spanish play-by-play alongside analysts Jose Luis Clerc and Daniel Orsanic both former US Open competitors.  That coverage will be enhanced by reporter Pilar Perez at the stadium conducting interviews and producing daily features for SportsCenterand ESPN’s complete line-up of daily news and information shows.
  • In Brazil, ESPN will televise more than 140 hours.  It will also air the daily Portuguese-language wrap up show PelasQuadras.
  • Online, Latin America’s broadband service, ESPN Play (WatchESPN in Brazil) will offer every match via live streaming, which will include exclusive coverage of 13 different courts.

ESPN & the 2020 US Open

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)
Sun Aug 30 11 a.m. SportsCenter at the US Open ESPN2
   
Mon Aug 31 – Wed Sep 9 11 a.m. US Open – up to 13 courts ESPN App
Sep 10 – 13  Noon US Open – 3 courts in action ESPN App
   
Mon Aug 31 11 a.m. US Open First Round ESPN Deportes
Noon US Open First Round ESPN
  6 p.m. US Open First Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN2
Tue Sep 1 11 a.m. US Open First Round ESPN Deportes
Noon US Open First Round ESPN
  5 p.m. US Open First Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN2
  8 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN
Wed Sep 2 11 a.m. US Open Second Round ESPN Deportes
Noon US Open Second Round ESPN
  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Thur Sep 3 11 a.m. US Open Second Round ESPN Deportes
Noon US Open Second Round ESPN
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round – Ashe Stadium ESPN / ESPN Deportes
  7 – 9 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM —  Second Round – Armstrong Stadium ESPN2
Fri Sep 4 11 a.m. US Open Third Round ESPN Deportes
Noon US Open Third Round ESPN
  6 p.m. US Open Third Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes
Sat Sep 5 11 a.m. US Open Third Round ESPN2
  1 p.m. US Open Third Round ESPN Deportes
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sun Sep 6 11 a.m. US Open Round of 16 ESPN / ESPN Deportes
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Mon Sept 7 11 a.m. US Open Round of 16 ESPN2
  Noon US Open Round of 16 ESPN Deportes
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes
Tue Sep 8 Noon US Open – US Open Quarterfinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Wed Sep 9 Noon US Open – US Open Quarterfinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN2
Thu Sep 10 3 p.m. US Open Men’s Doubles Championship ESPN2
7 p.m. US Open Women’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Fri Sep 11 Noon US Open Women’s Doubles Championship ESPN2
  4 p.m. US Open Men’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sat Sep 12 4 p.m. US Open Women’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sun Sep 13 3 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship Preview Special ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship Preview Special (cont.) ESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes

 

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Dave Nagle

It was 33 years at ESPN for me as of November 2019 (the only job I’ve ever had) after joining merely to help with the America’s Cup for three months at a robust $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals and Indy 500; Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, in addition to overseeing the Fan Relations, Archives and ESPNPressRoom.com, my main areas are tennis, ratings, and corporate communications documents, including ESPN’s history and growth.
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