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ESPN Extends Australian Open Pact

4/26/2005 5:32 AM Eastern

ESPN will continue to serve up tennis’ Australian Open.

The network and Tennis Australia said Tuesday that they have reached a new multiyear, multimedia agreement for the extension of ESPN's exclusive television coverage of the Australian Open, as well as other new rights across many ESPN platforms.

ESPN has held exclusive U.S. rights to the Australian Open since 1984, and the extension kicks off in 2007.

Under terms of the deal, Spanish-language U.S. network ESPN Deportes gains carriage of the first of tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments. Broadband service ESPN 360, the ESPN Mobile cellular-phone service launching in the next year and ESPN.com (espn.go.com) will also gain rights to Australian Open programming.

“Tennis fans know to start the year with ESPN2’s coverage of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam, a great event combining the best in tennis with the beauty of summer from Down Under,” ESPN executive vice president of programming and production Mark Shapiro said in a prepared statement.

“ESPN’s commitment to tennis continues to grow,” he added. “In January, we expanded live coverage of the Australian Open to great success. We're happy to work with Tennis Australia across all platforms to reach fans wherever they are.”

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