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

The men’s tennis singles final at the US Open will be televised again in September.

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

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

ESPN is not moving the women’s finals from pay TV to the free-to-air network because ABC has existing contracts — which it says cannot be changed — to show college football that Saturday afternoon.

The move is part of an effort to compete for the NFL’s attention, which opens on Sunday the same weekend as the US Open final. In four of the past five years, the women’s final, which takes place on Saturday, has outperformed the men’s final in the U.S. television viewership.

However, ESPN’s NFL package is for Monday nights, leaving Sunday afternoons open for other sports programming in the fall. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is hoping for an increase in men’s finals thanks to clearer crowd air and ABC’s expanded network reach.

A USTA spokesperson said the tournament is continually evaluating the schedule to maximize fan interest.

Those discussions even include potentially reversing the days of the men’s and women’s finals, which would also mean other changes to the earlier rounds to ensure proper rest, but no decisions have been made on that front.

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(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)