As NBA Remains A Jump Ball, Warner Bros. Discovery Grabs French Open Tennis Rights In U.S.

As intrigue continues to swirl about its future role as an NBA broadcaster, Warner Bros Discovery’s Turner Sports has secured U.S. rights to the French Open tennis tournament.

The annual late-spring major, whose 2024 edition will wrap this weekend in Paris, is slated to be carried by WBD’s linear networks as well as its Max streaming flagship starting in 2025. The term of the rights deal is 10 years. A person familiar with the agreement confirmed the details to Deadline.

More from Deadline

Financial terms were not disclosed.

NBCUniversal (NBC and Peacock) as well as the Tennis Channel currently air French Open matches in the U.S. WBD’s Eurosport has carried it in many international territories for years.

Variety had the first report of the deal.

Tennis in the U.S. is mostly controlled by ESPN, with the other three Grand Slams (Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open) airing on the Disney outlet.

As Max looks to start charging a premium for its sports tier and also take part in Venu, a planned joint venture with Fox and Disney, the French Open adds another property to the menu.

The tennis deal is the second rights pact of some note in recent weeks, following a sublicense of College Football Playoff games from ESPN starting this season. Formerly contested by just four teams, the playoff is expanding to 12 teams starting this year, with the larger field enabling ESPN to sell off early games while retaining the later rounds.

NBA rights, which will shift after the end of the 2024-25 season, have drawn intense interest from a number of players new and old, offering the latest proof of the value of sports rights in a disordered TV ecosystem. Disney/ESPN, Amazon and NBCUniversal have all secured a share of the high-profile league, according to multiple reports in recent weeks. Dozens of annual games on Prime Video and Peacock are expected to make the league the latest to take the leap into exclusive streaming. With the NBA Finals under way, it is unlikely that final details about media rights will be announced for at least the next week or two. The league and bidders have not offered any comment during the negotiating process.

The total outlay for all NBA rights, which also includes the WNBA, is expected to surpass $75 billion, which was an initial goal of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and also more than twice the value of the current agreements. Turner, which has carried the NBA since the mid-1980s, has been described as being on the outside looking in, though as a current rights holder it is also said to have the right to match other companies’ bids. The company also operates and NBA TV for the league, which is widely seen as a plus. Charles Barkley, one of the hosts of the popular TNT studio show Inside the NBA, has given a series of interviews in recent weeks, lambasting WBD execs as “clowns” who “screwed up” the rights negotiations.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.