Already the exclusive home of Wimbledon and the Australian Open, ESPN is close to acquiring full rights to tennis’ U.S. Open. In other news, the NBA will begin television rights talks this summer, and there is speculation that NBC could acquire at least a dozen NASCAR races.
- ESPN is on the verge of acquiring full television rights to the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sports Business Daily reported Monday. According to the report, ESPN would pay $60M per year for U.S. Open rights beginning in 2015, up 50% from the current CBS/ESPN rights fee of $40M/year. The U.S. Open semifinals and finals would air on regular ESPN, making the tournament the third of four “Grand Slam” events to conclude on cable television. (Sports Business Daily)
- The NBA will begin “informal negotiations” on new television packages once the NBA Playoffs conclude in June, according to the latest issue of Sports Business Journal. Though the current NBA television contracts with Disney and Turner Sports do not expire for another three years, the league reportedly wants to “test the waters now, with the cost of sports rights at an all-time high.” A new deal would reportedly not be reached until after Adam Silver takes over as commissioner next year. (Sports Business Journal)
- There is “speculation” that NBC Sports could acquire the rights to 12-13 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in television negotiations later this year, The Sporting News reported last week. Under such an arrangement, NBC would acquire the six-race TNT “Summer Series” and a portion of the ESPN/ABC package. Meanwhile, ESPN/ABC would televise the final 10-11 races, which would include the Chase For the Cup. (The Sporting News)