Infront’s HBS wins French Tennis Federation’s production tender

HBS, the Infront-owned sports broadcast production company, has been appointed by the French Tennis Federation (FFT) as its host broadcaster for the flagship French Open from 2021 to 2023.

HBS France Production has emerged victorious in the invitation to tender launched by the FFT in December.

The appointment is part of the FFT’s moves to take the production activities in house.

The federation said today: “From 2021 onwards the FFT will cherish the opportunity to provide TV coverage of the tournament in its entirety for all 150 broadcasters in France and around the world. In doing so, the FFT aims to meet the expectations and demands for quality for the world’s broadcasters by producing content tailored to their needs and to those of viewers. The FFT is also looking to continue innovating.”

Incumbent domestic rights-holder France Télévisions, the French public broadcaster, is currently responsible for the host broadcast. The FFT has also worked with Input Media, the UK-based production firm that has been rebranded under the Gravity Media name, since 2008. These services have included the production of two world feeds, a daily highlights programme, individual match edits and digital content.

HBS is best known for its host broadcast operations at the Fifa World Cup, a role it has held since 2002.

The Infront-owned company was also previously the host broadcaster for matches in French football’s Ligue 1. HBS does still work with the French Professional Football League (LFP), providing quality control services over the match feeds and delivery of images to domestic rights-holders Canal Plus and beIN Sports.

The new production contract will mirror in length the French Open’s new domestic broadcast rights deals as evening sessions are introduced at the Roland Garros venue.

Online streaming giant Amazon has picked up a package of rights from 2021 to 2023, including matches played on the Simonne-Mathieu Court and the night sessions. France Télévisions picked up the first rights package, which includes all tournament matches except those played on the Simonne-Mathieu court and night sessions on the Philippe-Chatrier main show court.

The semi-finals and finals will be co-broadcast by the two parties.

The FFT issued its invitation to tender on December 13 and set a first-round bid deadline of January 15.