FFT moves to direct talks as French Open tender fails

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) has entered into a period of direct negotiation with interested broadcasters for the 2021-23 domestic rights to the French Open grand slam tournament after the failure of its recent tender process.

The FFT said that the tender, which ran from June 13 to July 18, failed to meet its publicly-unspecified global reserve price.

The federation’s key ambition for the tender was to significantly raise rights revenues whilst maintaining exposure. It considers the French Open to be domestically undervalued compared to the other three tennis grand slam tournaments.

“The proposals submitted [in the tender] have allowed the organisers to envisage increasing the tournament’s exposure and conquering new audiences, as well as revaluing the rights contract,” it said.

Industry players told SportBusiness Media during the tender period that a move to direct talks with broadcasters was the most likely outcome.

Domestic rights to the French Open are currently shared by public-service broadcaster France Télévisions and pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport. The two broadcasters have rights to the competition until 2020.