Network, USGA agree to extend deal

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- ESPN and the United States Golf Association agreed Thursday to extend their relationship through 2008. ESPN will continue to show the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open for the next four years. ESPN will also extend its international television rights in Africa, Asia, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. ESPN has televised USGA events since 1982. Included are rights for new media offerings from ESPN.com, ESPNDeportes.com, SportsTicker, ESPN Broadband and ESPN Video-on-Demand. ESPN.com will continue to provide real-time scoring and streaming video of USGA events. ESPN will cover the U.S. Open, and then televise four hours of daily early-round U.S. Women's Open coverage live from Orchards Golf Club at South Hadley, Mass. beginning July 1. Four hours of daily early-round U.S. Senior Open action live from Bellerive Country Club at St. Louis, Mo. will begin July 28 on ESPN. "United States Golf Association drama is paramount in the eyes of golfers and this marquee schedule contributes to ESPN's goal of providing fans with championship programming," said ESPN.com and ABC sports president George Bodenheimer said. "Since 1982, ESPN's coverage of America's national golf championships has been superb, and we're delighted to extend this long-standing relationship," Fay said. The 2003 U.S. Open was ESPN's highest-rated and most-viewed golf event last year, earning a 2.4 rating and 2,038,000 household impressions.

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