US Open men’s singles final to be shown on ABC for first time

US Open Mens Final 2023 scaled e1715794718647

The US Open men’s tennis singles final is headed back to broadcast television in September.

ESPN announced Monday that its sister network, ABC, would cover the match scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m.

ABC has never shown the men’s final, which for years aired on the broadcast network CBS before ESPN took over the U.S. media rights for the tournament in 2015. The tournament is also moving up the start time of the championship, which previously began at 4 p.m, and its coverage will include a one-hour pre-match show.

ESPN is not moving the women’s final from the pay-television to its free-to-air broadcast network, because ABC has existing contracts — that it says it can’t alter — to show college football that Saturday afternoon.

The move is part of an effort to compete for eyeballs with the NFL, which has its opening Sunday on the same weekend as the US Open finals. In four of the last five years the women’s final, which takes place on Saturday, has out-performed the men’s final in U.S. television viewership.

However, ESPN’s NFL package is for Monday night, leaving Sunday afternoons in the fall open for other sports programming. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) will hope for a boost in numbers to men’s final from the clearer audience air, as well as the expanded network reach of ABC.

A spokesperson for the USTA said the tournament is constantly evaluating its schedule to optimize fan interest.

Those discussions have even included potentially flipping the days of the men’s and women’s finals, which would also involve other changes in the earlier rounds to ensure proper rest, but no decisions have been taken on that front.

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(Photo: Al Bello / Getty Images)

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