The NBC Sports Group stayed on court with tennis, inking a renewal that gives it expanded French Open rights in the U.S. well into the next decade.
Under the pact reached with the French Tennis Federation, NBC has secured multiplatform rights for the clay court Grand Slam event through 2024. The extension, superseding the final year of a contract that was set to expire at the end of the 2013 tournament, calls for 10 more hours of TV coverage annually. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The renewal was announced on NBC on Sunday by Al Michaels and John McEnroe during a preview of the men's gold medal match between Andy Murray and Roger Federer from Wimbledon. NBC was outbid by ESPN for the U.S. rights to The Championships, ending a 43-year run with its coverage of the 2011 fortnight.
NBC will air the opening Sunday of the French Open, 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. Some of that action had been carried by Tennis Channel, which last October inked a renewal with the FFT. The pact covers the Grand Slam fortnights from 2016 through 2022. Tennis and the FFT originally signed a contract encompassing Roland Garros from 2007 through the 2015 event.
At the conclusion of its new 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, in a statement. "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."
NBC has been covering some portion of the tournament since 1975--with a two-year break in 1980-82, when CBS held the rights.
As it is doing with the London Olympics, NBC will live stream all of its coverage on NBCSports.com.
NBC's announcement Sunday comes as Tennis is much on the Washington agenda of parent Comcast, which is challenging an FCC decision that Comcast favored NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel in tier placement.
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