After losing the rights to Wimbledon last year, I wondered if NBC would get out of the tennis business, but that idea was shattered this morning.
While it’s in the midst of the Olympics, NBC still had time to negotiate a rights extension to the French Open through 2024. This will keep Roland Garros on network television for 50 consecutive years dating back to 1975. Al Michaels and John McEnroe made the announcement during Olympics Daytime just before the tennis gold medal match this morning.
NBC says the new agreement calls for extended coverage on the network including Memorial Day matches and the women’s semifinals. This year began coverage on the Opening Sunday of play.
However, I still wonder if NBC will do tape delayed shenanigans that was hampered its coverage in the past. NBC states that there will be live streaming of its coverage so it appears the tape delays will remain in place. We shall see.
In any event, here’s the announcement.
New Multi-Year, Multi-Platform Agreement Includes Increased Digital Rights and 10 Additional Hours of Television Coverage Beginning in 2013
Coverage Now Includes Memorial Day play and Women’s Semifinals
NBC will continue to Air Opening Sunday, Middle Weekend and Live Championship Weekend Coverage
LONDON/NEW YORK – August 5, 2012 – The NBC Sports Group and the French Tennis Federation, today announced a multi-year, multi-platform extension that includes 10 more hours of live U.S. television coverage and increased digital rights for the Grand Slam event through 2024. NBC will air the opening Sunday of the tournament, as it did this year for the first time, as well as middle weekend tennis, the men’s and women’s semifinals and the men’s and women’s finals.
This extension brings key days of the tournament to the network, including Memorial Day coverage, and the women’s semifinals rounding out the network’s championship weekend. At the conclusion of this agreement, NBC will have served as the broadcast home of the French Open for 42 consecutive years.
“The French Open is one of the world’s most celebrated sports events,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “This ground-breaking agreement will extend our relationship with Roland Garros through 2024, and provides tennis fans with more comprehensive coverage than ever before, including live streaming of more matches.”
“After 30 years of outstanding work in televising the French Open, the French Tennis Federation is thrilled to renew their American network agreement with NBC for a long term period,” said Michel Grach, director of media and sponsorship, French Tennis Federation. “This new agreement will increase NBC’s hours of coverage of the tournament, which will continue to build Roland Garros’ American audience. NBC and FFT reinforce their partnership at a very strategic period in FFT’s history with the start of the new stadium program.”
The French Open will be available for tennis fans on NBCSports.com, where fans can watch live streaming of all of NBC’s coverage. NBCSports.com will also provide daily video highlights and online-only analysis by NBC’s tennis commentators.
In 1975, NBC became the first American television network to provide coverage of the French Open when the network signed a three-year deal with the French Tennis Federation. The tournament was covered by CBS from 1980-82 and returned to NBC in 1983, where it has remained since.
That’s going to do it.