NBC Sports, Wimbledon continue pact

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NEW YORK -- NBC Sports said Thursday that it has reached an extended deal to keep the Wimbledon tennis championships on its air for the long term.

Financial terms were not announced between NBC Sports and the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club. It includes digital media rights to the championships plus online coverage live on NBCSports.com and on mobile.

NBC is in the middle of its 39th year of coverage of the Wimbledon championships, which is the sports division's longest partnership ever. NBC will have 37 hours of coverage this year including "Breakfast at Wimbledon" ladies finals Saturday and the men's final Sunday.

Rain is a constant threat at Wimbledon, and already has delayed matches this year with the most storms since 1982. That should change in 2009 when a retractable roof is planned for Center Court. But this year it's meant that ESPN2 and ESPN360.com coverage was scheduled to start an hour early today and run from 6 a.m.-noon EST.

ESPN's deal with the All England club began in 2003 and expires Sunday. ESPN senior vp programming strategy Len DeLuca said that they are confident that they would be able to reach agreement with the club.

"The key is an expansion of rights that we are working on," DeLuca said Thursday from London.
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