After 45 years, the U.S. Open tennis tournament is leaving CBS and moving to cable. Beginning with the 2015 tournament, ESPN networks will air the sporting event exclusively. The U.S. Tennis Association and ESPN announced an 11-year deal today that includes 130-plus hours of TV coverage from the tournament, from the first serve through the men’s finals. The tournament finals had been carried by CBS since 1968. Its current deal expires in 2014. ESPN began televising 100 hours of early-round and some second-week matches in 2009. As part of the new deal, ESPN will televise the middle weekend of play, including Labor Day, in addition to the men’s and women’s semifinals and finals. Starting in 2015, the women’s semifinals will be played on a Thursday in prime time, with the men’s semifinals on Friday. The women’s finals will be on Saturday and the men’s finals on Sunday. This year’s Open is scheduled for August 26-September 8.
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