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TF1 not interested in French Open rights

TF1 has joined fellow French commercial broadcaster M6 in stating it will not bid for the next cycle of media rights to the French Open tennis tournament.

Nonce Paolini, chief executive of the TF1 Group, told the Sport Stratégies website that the broadcaster is not interested in the rights for the next five editions of the grand slam tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, from 2014 to 2018.

M6 said earlier this week that it would not participate in the tender process.

Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT), the governing body of tennis in France, last month launched a domestic tender split into three separate packages.

Unlike the tender for the previous rights cycle, the FFT has elected to make available separate rights packages for mobile, free-to-air television and all broadcasters, potentially allowing pay-television broadcasters to enter bids.

Public-service broadcaster France Télévisions was the rights-holder through to the conclusion of the 2013 edition of the French Open in June, paying a rights fee of €15.5m ($21.1m) per year. France Télévisions also sublicensed some rights to pay-television broadcaster Eurosport.

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 broadcast the tournament since 1987.

Interested parties have until October 10 to respond to the tender issued by the FFT.