Breaking news this morning is that ESPN has made a decision to drop it's coverage of the French Open after 13 years. Why?
■ 2013 – 298,000 viewers
■ 2014 – 233,000 viewers
■ 2015 – 267,000 viewers
of the Grand Slam.
Some of it's daily round of sports news programs attract almost twice the viewers in an hour or so.
This is bad news for tennis fans who don't have access to Tennis Channel which now owns the rights to the event. I'm not sure if NBC Sports Network is carried by basic cable in the United States.
From the SBJ Article
To underscore the point that ESPN’s decision was not part of the network’s cost-cutting moves, sources said ESPN paid Tennis Channel a sublicense fee in the low seven-figure range — a figure that is the lowest of tennis’ four Grand Slam events, by far.
Plus, ESPN sources say the event did not cost a lot of money to produce. The network opted to use the international feed produced by Tennis Channel.
The move marks a slight shift for ESPN, which over the years has looked to increase its rights around tennis’ Grand Slam events to improve continuity.
At Wimbledon, ESPN controls the whole package, with Tennis Channel cutting a separate deal with the rights holders, the All England Club. At the U.S. Open, it is Tennis Channel that sublicenses from ESPN, a deal that will continue, Guglielmino said. ESPN has one more tournament remaining on its sublicense with Tennis Channel for the Australian Open. Asked about ESPN’s commitment to that event, Guglielmino said the sublicense was different than the French Open one, and he remained committed to the event.
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