USTA Looking At Options If TWC-CBS Dispute Keeps U.S. Open Off The Air In N.Y.
The USTA has begun discussions on alternative broadcast plans for the U.S. Open in the event CBS remains off the air in the N.Y. area because of the network’s dispute with Time Warner Cable. CBS has been off the air since early this month on TWC systems in several major media markets nationwide, including N.Y., over a retransmission fee dispute. “We are exploring ways for our fans in New York to see the Open,” said USTA Exec Dir & COO Gordon Smith. The event starts Aug. 26. It would not be the first time the USTA has had to move contractually obligated programming off CBS. In '10, CBS did not stay with the rain-delayed men's final on a Monday, and the USTA moved the finish to ESPN2. Smith did not rule out a similar scenario, but declined to say if talks with ESPN were included in the discussions of alternate plans. CBS is in the final two years of its contract with the USTA before ESPN secures full rights. CBS currently airs coverage over Labor Day weekend, along with the women’s and men’s semifinals and finals. ESPN and Tennis Channel broadcast the rest of the tournament. Many observers expect a resolution to the CBS-TWC dispute by the opening weekend of the NFL season, with the first Sunday of the regular season being Sept. 8. That would be in time to show the men's and women's finals in N.Y., but not the remainder of CBS' inventory. “We have expressed to CBS our desire that this dispute be concluded,” Smith said. “I think they know that.”