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ITV Buys Rights to Roland Garros

Posted 10-31-2011 at 10:42 AM by Philip Oliver
Broadcasters have apparently fallen in love with professional tennis, with both the BBC and ITV purchasing (or continuing to own, in the case of the former company) the rights to future tournaments.

The BBC has renewed its commitment to broadcasting Wimbledon, signing a six-year deal with SW19 chiefs, while rival firm, ITV, has secured the rights to the French Open, otherwise known as the Roland Garros. Fans of tennis betting will be pleased by this news.

Known for its clay courts, which are typically orange in colour, the French Open is the second Grand Slam of the year, after the Australian Open. The event is held in Paris, in the summer, offering a prize purse of around one million Euros.

ITV hopes to show six hours of tennis a day, beginning with the Roland Garros in 2012, meaning that fans could potentially consume up to 90 hours of tennis, enough to satiate even the most diligent of supporters.

The French Open is the second tennis tournament to be purchased by ITV, indicating that the broadcaster wants to branch out into other sports, in addition to the staple football, rugby, and motor racing.

Aussie tennis player, Samantha Stosur, was pleased to see more tennis being optioned by broadcasters. “I think it's great, people are able to see so much more tennis now”, the 27-year-old said.

The news of ITV's coup will no doubt delight tennis fans, who have had to search the doldrums of digital TV to find their sport, in previous years – with the exception of the eternally popular Wimbledon, of course. People looking at the online betting should remember this.

"It's the first time that a Grand Slam has been shown live on ITV”, explained Niall Sloane, chief of sport at the company. The broadcaster's other tournament, the AEGON Masters, is more of a showcase, featuring older players, such as Tim Henman and John McEnroe.
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