Starting next year, the bulk of ESPN2′s French Open coverage will air live in the early morning hours.
ESPN and Tennis Channel announced Monday a four-year extension of their agreement to share coverage the Australian Open and French Open. While the basics of the deal will remain unchanged (ESPN2 will continue airing the same number of hours from both events), there will be some changes to the schedule.
Notably, ESPN2 will televise French Open matches from 5:00-10:00 AM ET starting next year, a change from the current 12:00-6:30 PM window. As a result, the network’s coverage will “now be virtually all live” (ESPN, 6/1).
The Tennis Channel will air coverage from 10 AM through the remainder of play.
While ESPN2′s Australian Open schedule will remain the same as in previous years, Tennis Channel has touted a few new wrinkles for its coverage of the event.
Tennis Channel will carry ten straight nights of primetime coverage, and will also have the ability to stay with men’s matches that run past its telecast window. Previously, the network could only do so for women’s matches.