Even ABC gets a taste of the tennis
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
ESPN and Wimbledon’s AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club) have extended their pact for another dozen years. As part of the new deal, which runs through 2035, ESPN+ will stream the action on all courts, and ABC gets live matches on the prestigious tennis major’s middle weekend.
Yeah, there will be no more resting on the tourney’s “middle Sunday,” which was its tradition. Blame the broadcast network, which shares the same parent company, Disney, with ESPN.
Though the new deal technically begins in 2024, the ABC stuff starts next year.
Wimbledon matches have previously streamed on both ESPN+ and ESPN3, but this agreement allows for every single one of them to be seen on the sports SVOD service. Going forward, ESPN+ will be the lone platform for full replays of matches.
“The sporting world recognizes that Wimbledon is equated with excellence, and we are thrilled and proud to continue our close relationship with the AELTC,” Burke Magnus, ESPN’s president of programming and original content, said in a statement on Friday. “Wimbledon is a tentpole event on the global sports calendar and the ESPN schedule, and we will continue to use all our resources to present the drama, tradition and stories of Wimbledon to fans in all ways possible.”
“We are absolutely delighted to have extended this important partnership into the next decade,” Mick Desmond, AELTC’s commercial and media director, added. “ESPN has transformed the storytelling of Wimbledon throughout the Americas with their first ball to last ball commitment and their creative storytelling techniques. We are really looking forward to continuing to take the relationship from strength to strength and provide sports fans in the Americas with access to Wimbledon through ESPN’s unrivalled network of platforms.”
ESPN first acquired rights to Wimbledon with the 2003 Championships, adding exclusivity in 2012. This weekend, the cable channel airs the Ladies’ Championship on Saturday, July 10, at 9 a.m. ET, followed by the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Doubles Championships. On Sunday, ESPN will air the Gentlemen’s Championship at 9 a.m., followed by the Mixed Doubles Championship.
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