CBS Not Cutting Back On U.S. Open Coverage Despite Final Year Of Carrying Event
CBS begins coverage of its final U.S. Open on Saturday, but if network execs "are melancholy about ending the network’s 46-year relationship with the event, they aren’t showing it," according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus said, "We’re going to use all the resources that we have used in the past." Execs prior to the tournament said that ad inventory was 90% sold, which is "pacing similar to the past several years." The net's approach "also will come through on-screen." McManus said that CBS "would not cut back on coverage during this lame duck year." Ourand reports CBS will have some programming that "gives a nod to its long relationship with the event." The net has "produced a series of vignettes that it will run throughout the U.S. Open, with topics ranging from Arthur Ashe winning in 1968 to sisters Venus and Serena Williams competing in the first women’s prime-time final in 2001" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/24 issue). SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted longtime CBS announcer Dick Enberg "will return to the booth on Aug. 31 to call a match with John McEnroe and Mary Carillo" (SI.com, 8/25). On Long Island, Neil Best notes Enberg also will "write and narrate a video look back at CBS' nearly five decades in Queens next weekend." Enberg: "They've asked me to take 47 years and condense it into four or five minutes. I enjoy writing, and that'll be a nice challenge" (NEWSDAY, 8/29).
GETTING HANDS-ON: CABLEFAX DAILY noted Tennis Channel is "airing a televised biography of Arthur Ashe" at the conclusion of its U.S. Open coverage Sunday at 11:00pm ET as part of its "Signature Series." Tennis Channel Chair & CEO Ken Solomon said, "This project was extremely personal for me and began with my discussions with [Ashe's widow] Jeanne Ashe quite some time ago." Solomon said while he has been "closely involved with many of our originals," this was "by far the most hands-on for me in working" with Tennis Channel VP/Original Programming Laura Hockridge and producer/director Nitin Varma (CABLEFAX DAILY, 8/29 issue).