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Je ne sais quoi: Fdration Franaise de Tennis and HBS Bring Game, Set and Match to Roland Garros in First Year of Partnership

11/06/2021

Je ne sais quoi: F d ration Fran aise de Tennis and HBS bring game, set and match to Roland Garros in first year of partnership By Heather McLean, Editor

Friday, June 11, 2021 - 09:00

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Rafael Nadal faces off against Richard Gasquet on the Philippe Chatrier court at Roland Garros 2021

The French Open is taking place once again at Roland Garros in Paris, yet it is all change for this Grand Slam. 2021 sees the F d ration Fran aise de Tennis (FFT) and its new host broadcaster, HBS, taking the production over from France T l visions for the first time, as well as bringing in a plethora of enhancements for the production and to support rights holding broadcasters.

This year HBS has taken over the host broadcast of Roland Garros, stepping into the shoes of France T l visions, which had covered the event for the last 30 years. France T l visions had most recently been in charge of the production for the seven main courts, while FFT produced the outer courts remotely.

The FFT, with HBS, is producing a phenomenal amount of coverage in this first year of their partnership, despite the pandemic, with coverage of all courts including UHD HDR on the Philippe Chatrier court, with HDR SDR on Suzanne Lenglen, Simonne Mathieu and court 14.

Speaking to SVG Europe, Emilie Montan , director of media and production at the FFT, says: Normally 841 matches are produced. This year because we don't have the Legends [Trophy Tournament] we will only produce 832 matches. But this is like two football seasons in France; it's more than 5,000 hours of programming. It's really huge.

Taking control of the Grand Slam

Montan explains why FFT decided to take the production of this Grand Slam inhouse: Back in 2019 when we launched the domestic tender, we decided that the national broadcaster would not be host; the packages in the tender we [meant] it would be weird to have, let's say, a broadcaster producing matches for another incumbent. So we decided to inhouse it.

We are the first tennis event to have a media server. It's big news for this year. We know there is one for the Olympics and the World Cup, but as far as tennis is concerned I think it is the first time the broadcaster can use a media server

She adds: On top of that we wanted to be more in control of the production and to control the investment we wanted to make, which at some points was very difficult with France T l visions, because they have a different financial agenda. They were more or less [interested in] saving than investing, and asking over time for them to, let's say, put a spider cam in or to put another camera or whatever in, they would say, no, we want to make some cost savings , which was not compatible with the way we wanted to handle the production for a grand slam tournament.

On top of these considerations, France T l visions was also producing a more unilateral feed style, rather than a multilateral feed, which, says Montan , the feed that they were producing was very France T l visions-like, and not too much international, which had led us [also to want to] inhouse the production .

After that the FFT launched a tender and selected HBS as the producer for the tournament on their behalf for the next three years to the 2023 French Open. The FFT has created a steering committee including HBS to focus on the production for the tournament, because we want to be in control of it, notes Montan .

Enhancing coverage for viewers

For all media - broadcasters, HBS staff and others - there are over 2,000 people on site during the tournament. Over 600 of that figure are HBS crew. The reason for the high number of HBS crew is due to an increase in new cameras at this year's French Open. Montan explains: This year we have really enhanced the coverage of Roland Garros. Not only have we added extra cameras on the Philippe Chatrier, Suzanne Lenglen, Simonne Mathieu [courts], cameras like the baseline camera, the tower camera, the tactical camera, but we have also improved and enhanced the service to broadcasters and the access to content [for them].

As of 2021, all the courts at Roland Garros are produced within the new TV compound, with HDR SDR on Suzanne Lenglen, Simonne Mathieu and court 14, and Philippe Chatrier produced in a UHD HDR truck in the same area

There are a number of new enhancements for this year's coverage of Roland Garros, not least of which is the fact that the FFT has beaten the rest of the Grand Slam venues to a media server, a first for 2021. We are the first tennis event to have a media server, says Montan . It's big news for this year.

We know there is one for the Olympics and the World Cup, but as far as tennis is concerned I think it is the first time the broadcaster can use a media server. We have access either onsite or outside and the quality is incredible, they have all live and non-live content on the platform and the level of satisfaction from all the broadcasters is really good; everybody is very happy. So we have lots of people managing and monitoring that, and being available for the broadcasters to make sure they find the right content at the right place, at the right moment.

Adding to that sense of je ne sais quoi is a huge addition for viewers oversees; beauty cameras that show off not only the layout of Roland Garros, but of Paris as well.

Montan explains: We have enhanced the beauty cameras that we have on site. I think when you watch Roland Garros from abroad it's very important you realise what the stadium looks like. It's been very difficult for us to [set up] a cablecam from [the top end of the venue] to the very bottom of the stadium, so [instead] we've covered the whole site with very different types of set ups [to create that type of aerial shot].

We have a cablecam from the Suzanne Lenglen [court] up to afte
LINK: https://www.svgeurope.org/blog/headlines/je-ne-sais-quoi-federation-fr...
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