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French Tennis Federation moves forward with OTT plans

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) has moved closer to launching its over-the-top streaming service after beginning the search for a technical provider to put in place the new platform.

France’s national tennis body has eyed the launch of the FFF.TV platform before the end of this year as looks to showcase content beneath the top-tier professional tennis that is broadcast on television.

The invitation to tender for the technical partner was issued recently and interested companies must submit their offers by September 15.

Expanding on the project earlier this year, the FFT told France’s Sport Business Club website: “The idea to start with is the promotion of the sport. You see lots of tennis on television but ultimately it’s just the big tournaments. The role of a [national] federation is also to show the sport from across the country, youth tennis or tennis clubs’ stories.”

“We are working on a channel that will make it possible to watch tennis in a different way to that offered by the broadcasters. We don’t have an economic model but we have carried out studies to understand the expectations of the 7 million people interested in tennis.”

Content on the OTT service will include videos around the French national teams, and particularly the youth sides, along with tutorial videos for amateur players.

Live or ‘near live’ streaming of French tennis tournaments that is not currently available to watch, including streaming of inter-club competitions, will also be available. The FFT has specified that it is creating “an OTT platform, via the internet” and “not a television channel proposing a linear flow”, with the exception of the live streaming of tournaments.

The FFT does not intend to introduce a pay wall for the service and is hoping that content could be showcased on the new television channel launched by the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) and digital media group Media 365.

Ahead of this year’s French Open, the FFT entered into a partnership with telecoms group Vivo to provide an OTT service for Brazilian viewers of Roland Garros. A dedicated website and app were launched and Brazilian viewers were charged R$29.99 (€6.69/$7.39) for a tournament pass. Brazilian Pay-TV broadcaster BandSports retained exclusive linear broadcast rights to the grand slam event.

As part of its digital push, the FFT also this year launched Ten’Up, an online platform designed to boost grassroots tennis participation in France.