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ESPN Deal With WTA Adding 150 Hours Of Tennis Coverage

ESPN has signed a six-year deal to expand and enhance its alliance with the Women’s Tennis Assn., the governing body of the global circuit of women’s professional tennis events (with the exception of the Grand Slams and Fed Cup).

Financial terms were not disclosed.

ESPN said it would carry live coverage of WTA events across ESPN’s multiple platforms. Under the new deal, ESPN3 adds 150 live hours of women’s tennis each year to its programming.

The network said that tennis on ESPN3 in 2011 has accounted for more than 2,750 live hours, including more than 2,200 exclusive hours.

The new deal is effective today with the TEB-BNP Paribas WTA Championships live from Istanbul. ESPN3’s live coverage will feature select round robin matches, both semifinals and the final on Oct. 30. ESPN2 will provide TV coverage of the final.

ESPN now carries all four Grand Slam tournaments, all ATP World Tour 500 and ATP Masters 1000 events, the WTA Premier events; and the season-ending championships of both tours: the TEB-BNP Paribas WTA Championships and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

“This new agreement with the WTA says a lot about the power of ESPN’s multi-platform scale and its ability to serve passionate tennis fans,” Jason Bernstein, senior director of programming and acquisitions for ESPN, said in a statement. “We have a long history with professional tennis in our 32 years, and now we are slated to carry all the top-tier tennis events from around the world across our networks.”

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