Originally created 02/26/03

Wimbledon, NBC agree to new four-year deal



NEW YORK -- Viewers can have "Breakfast at Wimbledon" with NBC for at least four more years.

The network extended its deal with the All England Club through 2006 at about the same $13 million annual rights fee as the old three-year pact.

This will be the 35th consecutive year NBC has televised the Grand Slam tennis tournament.

"We're thrilled to continue our wonderful relationship with the All England Club," NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said Tuesday.

The rain-slogged 2002 Wimbledon averaged a 2.1 rating for its 15 telecasts, 22 percent lower than 2001, and 36 percent lower than 2000. But the Saturday broadcast, featuring the women's final between sisters Serena and Venus Williams, drew a 4.6 rating - 31 percent higher than 2001.

NBC this year again will air 35 1/2 hours from Wimbledon. Play starts June 23, with the women's final July 5, and the men's final July 6.