Mediaset considers Roland Garros offer as TVE delays bid

The Mediaset media group, which owns Spanish commercial broadcaster Telecinco, said it would consider bidding for the rights in Spain for the French Open tennis tournament for three years, from 2012 to 2014, as public-service broadcaster TVE deferred a decision on whether to bid to retain the rights.

“The sporting event would be interesting to us, only if it meets our conditions of [generating] profitability,” a Mediaset spokesperson told the Europa Press news agency.

TVE was due to submit a revised bid for the rights yesterday, after earlier offers were rejected as too low by the MP & Silva agency, which is selling the rights in Europe for the period 2012 to 2016, according to the Telecinco news website. TVE postponed submitting a new bid, choosing to wait for confirmation of a €204 million ($267 million) cut to its budget expected to be imposed by the Spanish government due to economic problems in the country. A government decision on the cut is expected next week.

Some directors on the TVE board are reported to have proposed making a low bid for the rights, of €2.5 million per year – compared to the €4.6 million per year TVE paid in its previous deal – due to the budget cuts.

Other directors are in favour of making a higher bid, and cutting costs elsewhere by selling off other sports rights, including internet rights for the Olympics. TVE has the rights for the Olympic games in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

TVE previously had rights for the French Open via its membership of public-service broadcaster consortium the European Broadcasting Union. The EBU’s last deal for the rights, with the tournament’s rights-holder the Fédération Française de Tennis, ended in 2011.