TVE loses French Open tennis rights to Mediaset

Mediaset Spain, owner of Spanish commercial channels Telecinco and Cuatro, has acquired rights for the 2012 French Open tennis tournament from the MP & Silva agency, which holds the tournament’s rights in Europe, excluding France.

Mediaset via its commercial broadcasters Cuatro and Telecinco will broadcast two matches per day. It is still unclear which channel will show the games. Mediaset will also stream live coverage from the tournament.

The one-year agreement follows protracted negotiations between MP & Silva and incumbent rights-holder TVE, the public-service broadcaster. TVE postponed making an improved bid for the rights, after its earlier offers had been rejected, as reported by TV Sports Markets last month.

TVE had been unwilling to submit a revised bid while it awaited confirmation of significant cuts to its budget – in the region of €200 million ($262 million) – by the Spanish government, which have since been announced.

TVE had held the rights to the French Open through its membership of public-service broadcaster consortium the European Broadcasting Union. TVE paid €4.6 million per year for the rights. The EBU’s deal for the rights, with the Fédération Française de Tennis, the tournament’s rights-holder, ended in 2011.