MASTERCLASSING

Eurosport sees surge in OTT streaming at Roland Garros tennis tournament

David Murphy

Sports broadcaster Eurosport has reported a significant rise in digital viewership for the Roland-Garros French tennis tournament held in Paris recently. Eurosport attributes the rise to the global direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy of its parent company, Discovery.

The competition saw a 31 per cent year-on-year increase in unique views of the Roland-Garros 2019 tournament (including the qualifying rounds) via it’s dedicated over-the-top (OTT) video streaming service, Eurosport Player, and the Eurosport app. The average viewing time via the Eurosport Player also witnessed a big boost, with users watching for 45 per cent longer than last year. Eurosport.com – including both website and app – experienced 25 per cent more unique visitors compared to the 2018 event.

Eurosport’s coverage of the tournament included every minute live and over 600 matches and 250 hours of coverage in more than 50 countries. The broadcaster also saw significant audience growth across its localised TV coverage in major markets throughout Europe.

Eurosport 2 saw 15 per cent growth in average live audience overall, with the local Eurosport 2 channels in the Netherlands ( up 213 per cent), Poland ( up 26 per cent) and Spain (up 97 per cent) – including the best-ever audience for the men’s final in the country - experiencing significant year-on-year increases compared to 2018. There was a similar trend on Eurosport 1, with double-digit growth in France ( up 21 per cent), the UK (up 17 per cent) and Norway ( up 50 per cent) – where the two finals delivered the highest ever ratings for tennis matches in the territory.

“It’s great to see that tennis fans across the continent are engaging so passionately with our content and coverage and the results are clear evidence that our increased consumer focus is paying off,” said Dave Schafer, SVP sports content, operations & planning. “Our multi-screen content strategy is driving video and streaming growth but our short-formats are also translating to TV and entertaining traditional audiences.

“Year-on-year growth in key markets, on both digital and linear, underlines that Discovery and Eurosport is committed to engaging and growing audiences on all platform and all screens. Discovery and Eurosport combined have the unique ability to optimise distribution and live sports coverage across all platforms – free-to-air, pay, OTT and digital – and can deliver the biggest and most engaged audiences.”

Eurosport retains the European rights to the Australian Open, Roland-Garros and US Open (excluding the UK and Ireland) in more than 50 markets. This year, Eurosport is delivering every Grand Slam in at least 33 European markets, featuring every singles and doubles match and comprehensive coverage on all platforms. In addition to its Grand Slam coverage, Eurosport has acquired exclusive rights to ATP Tour (tennis) coverage in France (2019-23); Russia (2019-21); and Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden (2020-23).