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ESPN, Wimbledon come to terms

BRISTOL, Conn., April 14 (UPI) -- ESPN has reached a four-year agreement with Wimbledon, giving the cable network three of the four Grand Slams of tennis.

The announcement was made Monday by Tim Phillips, chairman of The All- England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, and George Bodenheimer, President of ESPN, Inc., and ABC Sports.

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The agreement covers the 2003-06 tournaments, and ESPN and ESPN2 will offer over 100 hours of coverage for this year's event, beginning in June.

"Rarely has ESPN been this extensively involved in an event with the history, pageantry and tradition of Wimbledon," Bodenheimer said. "With this most venerable and storied Grand Slam, we have increased our commitment and stature within tennis to a level unprecedented in our industry."

The coverage will start June 21 with a special preview on ESPN2.

"We are delighted to welcome ESPN to Wimbledon," Phillips said. "With this wide-ranging agreement, ESPN will bring alive the stories and the color of The Championships to a vast audience utilizing their multi-media channels and great experience of sports telecasting."

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