ESPN has acquired all U.S. broadcast rights to Wimbledon, the network announced today, outbidding NBC, which has televised tennis’ highest-profile tournament for the past 43 years and the men’s and women’s finals for the past 32 years. The 12-year deal begins with next year’s event and all the coverage will be live — NBC has taken some heat in the past for tape-delaying key matches for American viewers. Matches will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2, the network’s streaming web service ESPN3 as well as on ABC, where selected coverage will be delayed. By 2023, the network said coverage will increase to more than 140 hours. “We are proud to have been a partner of The All England Club the past nine years and are thrilled to be given continuing responsibility for honoring Wimbledon’s rich tradition,” ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer said. “Over the next 12 years, we’ll work closely together to move coverage of this great event forward with live coverage on television and using all the latest technologies and screens.” ESPN has had rights to early-round matches since 2003.
Millennium Entertainment has acquired U.S rights to Puncture, a legal drama starring Chris Evans, and is planning a fall 2011 theatrical release. In the based-on-fact film, directed by Adam and Mark Kassen, Evans plays a drug-addicted lawyer who takes on a powerful medical-supply corporation by representing a renegade safety-needle inventor, exposing corruption and kickback schemes in the health care industry. Millennium director of acquisitions Vincent Scordino made the deal along with CAA, which packaged the project. The company in Cannes acquired Elgin James’ Little Birds, also planned for a fall release.