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Tennis - 16 Sep 2021
Discovery, the US media giant, has struck an exclusive decade-long rights deal across Europe for tennis’ Laver Cup, the annual men's team competition contested by Europe and the rest of the world, between 2021 and 2030, through its continental subsidiary Eurosport.
Coverage of the three-day tournament, which this year will take place in Boston, USA, in late September, will be made available for the next 10 editions through both Discovery’s linear channels such as Eurosport, and also through its recently-launched discovery+ live-streaming hub. The agreement includes all free-to-air, pay-TV, and digital platform rights.
The coverage will be exclusive, apart from France this year and next year, while in Turkey rights will only be non-exclusive in 2021 and 2022. While Eurosport also held rights to the Laver Cup in 2019, these were non-exclusive and that deal was only for that year’s tournament, with other broadcasters from various European countries also showing the action.
Named after Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, the tournament was launched in 2017 and is the sport's equivalent of golf’s Ryder Cup, with a team of six European stars taking on one comprising top players from the rest of the world and 12 matches taking place in total.
The Laver Cup is a joint initiative between Team8, the management company of top Swiss player Roger Federer, Tennis Australia, the United States Tennis Association, and Jorge Paulo Lemann.
Andrew Georgiou, president of sports at Discovery, has now said: “Discovery has a proven track record of unlocking the power of tennis through the best storytelling, deep sports expertise and world-class technology … We look forward to working as a trusted partner to the Laver Cup to continue growing the reach of the tournament for all to enjoy.”
Tony Godsick, chairman of the Laver Cup and chief executive of the Team8 sports and entertainment firm which organises the competition, added: "We are excited to partner with Discovery Sports and Eurosport on this landmark 10-year agreement … Europe is a force in men’s tennis, with Team Europe winning all three editions of the Laver Cup so far, and it is also a critical audience for us to reach.”
The event, which forms part of the men's ATP Tour, was not held in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic but is returning this year, at the TD Garden in Boston from 24 to 26 September, with the 2022 edition to be held at the O2 in London.
This news comes soon after Discovery, through Eurosport and discovery+, extended its European rights to the Australian Open grand slam tournament until at least 2031, extending a relationship with that event dating back to 1995.
Eurosport has covered the Australian Open across the majority of Europe (minus Russia) for almost all of the past quarter-century, with the last deal between Discovery and Tennis Australia, which expired after this year’s edition in January, having been struck in late 2017.
The long-term agreement includes rights for linear channels (both pay-TV and free-to-air) and digital platforms.
Discovery also offers coverage of the other three grand slams – the Wimbledon Championships, the French Open from Roland-Garros in Paris, and the US Open from New York – across the continent.
The 2021 Laver Cup meanwhile is set to receive Australian exposure through Stan Sport, the over-the-top streaming platform run by the Nine broadcast network, with that broadcaster having entered into a multi-year agreement with the tournament’s late last week.
The last edition, two years ago, was shown on Nine’s linear channels, with international sports media giant ESPN also holding live rights for the 2019 tournament.