Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), the Indian pay-television broadcaster, has secured exclusive rights across the Indian subcontinent to the Roland-Garros French grand slam tennis tournament until 2024.
The deal between SPN and the French tennis federation (FFT) governing body, announced today (May 5), covers both linear and digital rights.
The broadcaster will cover the next three editions of the clay-court tournament, which this year will take place between May 22 and June 5.
Specifically, SPN will cover the tournament in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives.
Rights to the tournament in India have most recently been held by pay-TV rival Star.
Aside from its linear coverage of the tournament, SPN will also provide live streaming via the over-the-top SonyLIV platform.
Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation, said: “We are delighted with the signing of this Sony Pictures Networks India contract. This new agreement ensures maximum exposure in India and its subcontinent, and means our tournament will be celebrated in this part of the world where tennis fans and Roland-Garros fans are increasingly numerous.”
Rajesh Kaul, chief revenue for distribution and the head of sports business at SPN, added: “We are delighted to acquire the media rights of the prestigious Roland-Garros. The pedigree of the French Open will help us cater to the steadily growing tennis fanbase in India. With this acquisition, we reiterate our goal to position Sony Sports Network as the home to marquee global sports events.”
The deal adds to SPN’s portfolio of tennis content, which already includes the hard-court Australian Open grand slam tournament each January.
The FFT struck its last major rights deal for Roland-Garros in early January, when BeIN Sports Asia, an arm of the Qatar-based international pay-TV network, secured rights to cover the next five editions of the tournament.
That deal gives BeIN the rights to Roland-Garros across Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia between 2022 and 2026.
BeIN will cover the tournament both on its linear channels, which are available on various major pay-TV platforms in the region, as well as on its BeIN Sports connect live-streaming mobile app.
Roland Garros, meanwhile, installed former women’s tennis’ number one Amelie Mauresmo as its new director in December last year, becoming the first-ever woman to take charge of the prestigious tournament.
The retired heavyweight, who won two grand slams during a 16-year playing career, will lead the tournament for the next three years, until 2024, and has said she will focus not only on the sporting aspect of the tournament but on the event's philanthropic aspects as well.