CBS reaches new U.S. Open deal


NEW YORK -- CBS and the U.S. Tennis Assn. have renegotiated the network's carriage deal for the U.S. Open, throwing out the last two years of the contract for a new agreement that includes a significant rights fee as well as a new revenue sharing component.

Sources said the new agreement gives the USTA about 20% less than the average $30 million a year it was getting under the previous deal but now allows both USTA and CBS to share sponsorship packages and other revenue from the tournament. CBS has the broadcast portion of the rights deal for the U.S. Open. USA Network's deal that runs through 2008 remains unchanged on the cable side.

CBS Sports had been losing money on the tennis coverage, with ratings having dropped double digits since 1999. It will get relief from the new deal, which took effect with last year's U.S. Open. It will run through 2011.

Other terms of the deal include an increased presence for U.S. Open series events leading up to the tournament itself, which this year will take place Aug. 27-Sept. 9. CBS will carry matches on Labor Day weekend and the finals, Sept. 8 and Sept. 9.

The new rights deal also includes a continuation of the women's final, the only tennis event that is on broadcast primetime.

CBS has carried the U.S. Open since 1968.