FFT: Roland Garros will stay on free-to-air

The French Open tennis grand slam at Roland Garros will continue to be primarily broadcast on terrestrial, free-to-air television in France, the French tennis federation has announced as it prepares to put the domestic media rights on the market.

“The public must be reassured. In future, Roland Garros will always be broadcast on free-to-air. We have a real desire to not leave terrestrial,” Michel Grach, director of media and partnerships at the federation, the Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT), said.

“There may be, as now, some pay-television, but the history of the tournament will continue to be told on free-to-air.”

Public-service broadcaster France Télévisions is the incumbent rights-holder. It pays the federation, the tournament organiser, €15.5 million ($20.2 million) per year.

France Télévisions sublicenses some rights to pay-television broadcaster Eurosport. The broadcaster’s contract ends after the 2013 tournament.

In September the federation will put out to tender the rights for the four years from 2014 to 2017. A winner is expected to be announced by the end of October.

The finals of the men’s and women’s singles competitions must be broadcast on free-to-air television in France under listed events legislation.

France Télévisions has televised the tournament since 1987.