Tennis Channel will continue to serve its expansive Roland Garros coverage into the next decade.
The independent, dedicated racquet network and the French Tennis Federation have agreed to a multiyear extension of the French Open rights package under which Tennis will remain the primary U.S. telecaster of the action from the famed clay courts in Paris.
In addition to cable television, the agreement also includes streaming, digital, mobile, video on demand and "TV Everywhere" rights, as well as giving Tennis access to the French Tennis Federation's extensive media archives.
The pact, financial terms of which were not disclosed, covers the Grand Slam fortnights from 2016 through 2022. Tennis and the FFT originally signed a contract encompassing Roland Garros from 2007 through the 2015 event.
Tennis, which has shared French Open rights with ESPN2 in exchange for coverage opportunities from the Australian Open, has yet to negotiate a similar arrangement with the worldwide leader for Roland Garros over its new seven-year extension. NBC holds Stateside broadcast rights.
Through its initial deal with the FFT, Tennis first stepped onto the court with Grand Slam coverage. Live match and streaming coverage aside, Tennis established a round-the-clock Parisian presence, proffering its French Open Tonight package, which allows Americans to catch up with encores, highlights and analysis of the best matches of the day. This show encores over night, leading into the next days of live-match action.
Tennis has deployed a similar game plan with shows detailing the action from Australian, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, where it doesn't hold live match rights.
Tennis Channel's French Open coverage has also played in the digital space. Beginning with the initial telecast in 2007, visitors to the network's website could access broadband streams of live and on-demand matches, and select distribution partners enabled viewers to access a special "mosaic" channel of multiple courts at the same time or the opportunity to select whichever match they preferred. This year the network became the first in American television to offer 3D coverage of the French Open, which took place during Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30.
"It is wonderful to extend our relationship with Tennis Channel on a long-term basis," said Today Gilbert Ysern, general manager, FFT, and tournament director, French Open Ysern in announcing the renewal "Our partnership has led to an innovative and exciting way for Americans to celebrate and enjoy Roland Garros, with far more live coverage than ever and groundbreaking prime-time and late-night telecasts."
Noted Tennis chairman and CEO Ken Solomon: "We couldn't be more thrilled that Tennis Channel is going to be the French Open's home for at least another 10 years. As the first Grand Slam that we ever covered, Roland Garros holds a special place in our hearts. Together with the FFT, we proved that the more tennis you put on TV, the more American audiences want to watch; they simply can't get enough. Our partnership has helped grow awareness for the sport itself - with 24-hour scheduling, multiple broadband streams, digital television multi-screens and 3D - and we're thankful and excited to continue this arrangement."