The U.S. Open Tennis Championship starts Monday and continues for the next two weeks. During that stretch, Time Warner Cable is offering free access to the Tennis Channel for subscribers in L.A., New York, and Dallas. It's another gesture from the cable company to its customers enduring a blackout of CBS channels.
Time Warner Cable subscribers normally pay extra for a sports tier that includes the Tennis Channel. But during the U.S. Open, all subscribers affected by the CBS blackout can watch it.
"We appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to resolve the blackout with CBS," said Mike Angus, Time Warner Cable Senior Vice President in a statement. "We know the US Open is popular programming. We’re pleased to be able to offer additional programming via Tennis Channel to customers affected by this dispute."
In Los Angeles, the Tennis Channel will be available for Time Warner Cable customers in HD on channel 473 and in SD on channel 264. It will also be available on channels 9 and 409, which carried KCAL before the blackout started.
CBS has broadcast the major later-round matches of the U.S. Open for decades. For the last four years, the Tennis Channel and ESPN have covered the rest of the Grand Slam tournament on cable.
The Tennis Channel is based in Santa Monica. Spokesman Eric Abner says the Channel is hungry for new viewers, and this isn't the first time it has offered free carriage of its coverage of a major tournament to Time Warner Cable and its competitors.
"We're an independent channel, fighting for distribution," Abner told KPCC. "These free previews allow more people to see the tremendous amount of coverage we offer."
The channel has offered free previews during the U.S. Open since it began covering the tournament in 2009. Last year, Time Warner Cable passed on the offer, but not this year. DirecTV and Dish are also offering the free U.S. Open preview.
For more than three weeks, CBS channels and Showtime have been blacked out for Time Warner Cable customers in Los Angeles, Dallas and New York, as the two companies battle over carriage fees. Subscribers who are tennis fans should hope the dispute is resolved before the U.S. Open's singles semifinal matches begin on Friday, September 6th. The semifinals and finals will only be broadcast live on CBS.