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USA Network: 25 Years: Neal Pilson

Jun 27, 2005  •  Post A Comment

I was the person who negotiated the deal with USA so that they could carry the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the Masters Golf Tournament, when we had those rights at CBS. I felt that we should generate additional coverage of the early rounds and the off-hours that we were unable to provide as a broadcast network. I was very concerned that ESPN would try to secure these rights, so I offered them to USA as a defensive measure. It didn’t make a huge difference in terms of our bottom-line revenue stream, but the most important thing was, it protected our position.

Occasionally we would have disagreements, for instance, when events would run long. There was some friction late at night at the U.S. Open, when USA would have a match that would run into our late-night coverage. We did not want to compete with ourselves, so they had to get off the air and announce that the match would continue on CBS. There was a little bit of unhappiness, but generally, there was a lot of cooperation back and forth. We had a very compatible arrangement.