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Volume 20 No. 42
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CBS Sports Net to carry U.S. Open matches

CBS Sports Network will carry U.S. Open tennis matches next month, marking the first time that the tournament will appear on the cable channel.

Over Labor Day weekend, CBS Sports Network will show outer-court matches during CBS’s live window. The cable channel, in 47 million homes, is allowed to carry live action during CBS’s window even though ESPN and Tennis Channel hold the cable rights to the event.

CBS Sports Network will carry a live studio show, “Today at the U.S. Open,” from 10 to 11 a.m. ET on days when it telecasts live matches.

“CBS Sports Network is an increasing priority for CBS,” said David Berson, executive vice president of CBS Sports and president of the CBS Sports Network. “Continuing to further align CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network is an important initiative.”

In addition to the live matches, CBS Sports Network will televise the U.S. Open qualifying matches Aug. 21-24. These matches have never been carried on television before.

The move continues the network’s strategy of complementing CBS Sports coverage on the cable channel. But it also furthers its strategy to roll out more live programming. In the past year, the channel has doubled the number of live hours it televises, launching shows like “Rome” and providing coverage from the driving range at the Masters, an event to which CBS Sports holds the rights.

Sources say the network has been negotiating with the NFL for programming, too. Such a deal would make sense this year, since CBS Sports holds the rights to the 2013 Super Bowl. To date, the channel has not carried any NFL programming.

CBS rebranded the channel from CBS College Sports in 2011. But Berson said the moves to add tennis and golf programming to the channel’s lineup do not diminish what is a college football focus for the channel.

“College sports remains at the core of what this network does,” Berson said. “This is all additive.”