Eurosport announced record-breaking audience figures for the 2014 French Open. The tournament attracted an average live audience of 1.36 million European viewers on Eurosport, a rise of 17% on the '12 tournament, which held the previous record. Maria Sharapova’s victory over Simona Halep in the final was the most watched women’s tennis match in Eurosport’s history with an average live audience of 3.8 million viewers. The men’s final which saw Rafael Nadal triumph for the ninth time at Roland Garros was the best ever French Open final on Eurosport with over 4.1 million viewers in Europe and the second-best tennis match on the channel. This year's French Open saw the highest live average audience rises vs. '13 in Romania and Spain (both +128%), U.K. (+79%) and France (+49%). The channel also had strong audience reach for the tournament. A total of 60.7 million different European viewers tuned in vs. 58.8 million in '13 -- making it the second best ever Grand Slam reach on Eurosport and Eurosport 2. Online, more than 1.3 million daily users visited the French Open section of Eurosport’s websites on the web and on mobile (Eurosport).
Racing UK is to broadcast a record 50 hours of coverage at Royal Ascot next week -- the first time the fixture will be broadcast on the horseracing channel. Ascot’s media rights will transfer from At The Races to Racecourse Media Group in a near-five-year deal. RMG will be responsible for the distribution of all of the racecourse’s media rights in the U.K. and overseas, while Racing UK will show every race live from Ascot. Racing UK will be on-air from 10am for each of the five days of the Royal Meeting, which runs from Tuesday through June 21, with the first hour free-to-view to all Sky customers. A team of 17 presenters and pundits, including dedicated paddock experts, will be on course to guide viewers through the action (Racing UK).
Sky Sports has signed a five-year extension to broadcast the U.S. Open Championship as part of a new agreement for live golf that also includes women's, senior and amateur events from the U.S. The new agreement with the USGA provides coverage of more than 35 championships between '15-19, including The Ryder Cup, The Masters, The U.S. PGA Championship, World Golf Championship, PGA Tour and European Tours. Live coverage of the U.S. Open will include all four days. Sky will also broadcast the Women's U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Amateur Championships, as well as the 2018 Curtis Cup Match between the U.K. and Ireland and the U.S. Sky will also broadcast the U.S. Men's Senior Open and U.S. Amateur Championship as well as the 2017 Walker Cup Match from the L.A. Country Club (Sky).
Thais "will get to watch live FIFA World Cup matches for free," after the junta-run administration agreed to pay S$16M ($12.8M) to broadcast them, according to Tan Hui Yee of the STRAITS TIMES. The last-minute deal "is the latest in a series of perks arranged by the junta seeking to 'return happiness' to the people some three weeks after seizing control of the kingdom" (STRAITS TIMES, 6/12). In N.Y., Watts & Chomchuen reported the generals acted after telecom regulator National Broadcasting and Telecoms Commission lots its cause twice to have RS Public Company, which won exclusive World Cup broadcast rights, to air all the matches on free TV channels. The country's two free-to-air channels "had an agreement with RS to show only 22 matches." The fee offered by the regulators "is almost half" of the 766M baht ($23M) that RS had proposed to make up for the loss of revenue from the sales distribution of its set-top boxes and sublicensing fees (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/12). The BANGKOK POST reported the army's Channel 5 "will broadcast 38 matches, including the opening and the closing ceremonies," the army-frequency owned Channel 7 will show 29 matches and cable Channel 8, operated by RS, will broadcast 56 matches. Some matches "would be aired by more than one channel" (BANGKOK POST, 6/12).