LOS ANGELES, August 24, 2006 —
Broad Multi-Year Deal Provides Exclusive U.S. Telecast and New Media Rights for Roland Garros - "The French Open" - Beginning in 2007
The French Tennis Federation (FFT) and The Tennis Channel today announced a broad, ground-breaking multi-year agreement that gives the media brand exclusive U.S. non-broadcast network rights to Roland Garros (commonly referred to as the French Open), the world’s most prestigious clay-court championship and one of professional tennis’ four “Grand Slam” tournaments, beginning in 2007. Via the deal, The Tennis Channel acquires its first-ever Grand Slam telecast coverage rights. The agreement was announced today by Christian Bimes, president, the FFT, and Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, The Tennis Channel.
As part of the deal, The Tennis Channel receives exclusive U.S. telecast rights to all Roland Garros matches including singles, doubles, mixed doubles, juniors and seniors (with the exception of established NBC coverage windows). In addition to the live event coverage of the men’s and women’s competition, the network plans to produce and televise Roland Garros-themed original programming, highlights, press conferences and news updates originating from the tournament.
Beyond U.S. telecast rights, a major point of the historic agreement also gives The Tennis Channel U.S. rights in all media, including exclusive broadband and video-on-demand (VOD) rights to the tournament, as well as access to Roland Garros’ media archives including classic matches from past tournaments, which will be used throughout the year to create French Open-themed series, specials and new media applications.
“On behalf of the Federation Fracaise de Tennis, we’re thrilled to enter into this agreement with The Tennis Channel,” said Bimes. “This is a great day for all American tennis fans, the game of tennis, and everyone who loves one of the most internationally revered, time-honored sporting events.”
“Devoted and casual tennis fans alike will be sparked by a whole new level of French Open coverage – the most of any Grand Slam in American television history,” said Solomon. “But The Tennis Channel Roland Garros Rights Release more than just the on-court aspect, we’re going to make you feel what it’s like to be there, to take in the experience that the event encompasses: the history, the lifestyle, the travel, Paris – all of it. For The Tennis Channel this is our Super Bowl, our Olympics, and we have the ability to tell the personal stories of these players on their epic journeys that lead to Paris each year.”
The Tennis Channel plans to significantly increase the number of both live and taped hours televised to U.S. viewers, and will begin promoting Roland Garros across all media platforms, as well as create major national marketing campaigns. To this end, the agreement also gives the network the right to sublicense portions of the live event programming to other U.S. media entities to ensure widespread reach and coverage.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to enter into this, innovative long-term partnership with The Tennis Channel,” said Bimes. “The network presents the opportunity to bring Roland Garros to U.S. audiences in a way that hasn’t been done before, with focus and storytelling to goes farther than traditional match coverage. We’re truly excited about the growth potential this agreement brings to our tournament profile.”
More than representing an evolution in its traditional rights-holder’s model, the sublicensing aspect of this agreement allows The Tennis Channel to establish an integrated distribution chain of networks, which may include both other television-based brands as well as various new media platforms. The potential of such year-long, co-branded promotion is targeted to elevate not only distribution partners, but also the game of tennis and the entire field of 45 of the top 50 tournaments on The Tennis Channel.
The Tennis Channel (www.thetennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the healthy, active lifestyle that surrounds it, and forges the personal connection between the professionals on the court and the game’s millions of aficionados. The home for people who watch, play and live their passions through tennis, the network is a hybrid of comprehensive sports coverage, health and fitness programming, pop culture and entertainment access, and lifestyle and travel information. The Tennis Channel is the most concentrated single-sport network in television, with telecast rights to the US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup, the combination of which offer the compelling, ongoing story of the game’s most dramatic rivalries, energetic personalities and emotional, yearlong journey.
A worldwide sporting event
Roland-Garros, classed among the major sporting events in the world, on power with the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. Created in 1981, the French Championships became the “French Open” in 1925 and since 1928 the tournament has been staged at the legendary Roland-Garros stadium. Branded with a “Grand Slam” label, every year Roland-Garros gathers The Tennis Channel Roland Garros Rights Release over 420,000 spectators to watch the elite of world tennis. Furthermore, 3 billion TV viewers in 214 countries can follow some 6,000 hours of programming. Broadcast by the 86 TV channels covering the tournament. This worldwide reputation attracts some 3,000 media representatives on site.
Key figures in 2006
- 214 viewings countries and 86 broadcasting companies (on five continents)
- 6,000 hours of transmissions
- Almost 3 billion potential viewers
- 500 million viewers (accumulated audience)
- 3,000 media representatives
- 450,000 spectators
RG contact info:
Michel Grach, FFT, +33147435206