Roland-Garros: France Télévisions rubs its hands with the right audiences

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The cold of duck, a sadly empty central court, the French quickly eliminated but, despite everything, many people watching television! No grimace soup this Monday at France Télévisions. In the corridors of the public group, we are delighted with the audiences of this strange Roland-Garros 2020. The change of schedule due to Covid-19 has not discouraged tennis fans in front of their screens.

On Sunday, Rafael Nadal’s thirteenth coronation on Parisian clay against Novak Djokovic was followed by 3.77 million supporters (27.1% of the public). With a peak of 5.9 million, just before 6 p.m., during match point. That is 460,000 more viewers than for the final of the 2019 edition. The day before, the Polish Iga Swiątek recorded exactly the same audience as the Australian Ashleigh Barty, her predecessor on the charts: 1.8 million viewers for the final lady.

“The best level since 2015”

In total, 1.53 million people watched France 2 every afternoon. “The best level since 2015”, rejoices the public group which forgets to recall an important detail. Unlike last year, Nagui’s “Don’t forget the lyrics” was this time almost systematically deprogrammed. France 2 was therefore able to continue the matches until the newspaper of 20 Hours, when there are the most people in front of his television set. Which makes comparisons difficult.

“You also forget that each year, there are always more people watching television in October than in June”, admits, handsome player, Laurent-Eric Le Lay, the sports boss of France Televisions. “But for us it’s a great edition. The figures prove that people were very keen to see Roland Garros. No one was shocked by the health constraints. It was weird but not a foil, ”adds the big boss.

The Amazon Prime threat

Roland-Garros 2020 is also a good deal on the advertising side. Net receipts increased by 5% compared to the previous edition. In the first week alone, advertising revenue amounted to 6.2 million euros gross (against 5.5 million a year and a half ago). But for France Télévisions, the difficulties will begin next year, with the arrival of night games (the famous “night sessions”) on Amazon Prime Video. The American platform will also offer until the 2023 edition all the matches played on the Simonne-Mathieu court.

“We will have a very very complete offer to follow the tournament because we will be on the air from 11 am, instead of 3 pm today because the first matches were on Eurosport”, recalls Laurent-Eric Le Lay, who does not not fear this new competitor. “We systematically achieve our best ratings when a game with suspense ends at prime time (Editor’s note as was the case for the round of 16 between Frenchman Hugo Gaston and Austrian Dominic Thiem which ended in front of 4.75 million people). We will see how viewers behave during a meeting that begins at 9 pm and can end very late… ”he breathes.

For France Télévisions, everything will depend on the ten posters that the management of the Paris tournament will choose to program at 9 pm. “We will give our opinion and we will say what, in our eyes, is best for French viewers. Will we be heard? I don’t know, but I’m sure it will be done intelligently so that it turns between the players and the star players, ”concludes Laurent-Eric Le Lay.

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