I was searching for a video of one of Tommy Robredo’s emotional celebrations after a comeback win, only to realize that not only was there only a very poor quality clip recorded off someone’s TV, but there were also barely any clips from Roland Garros on YouTube in general.
I later learned that the Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) has been blocking clips of Roland Garros from being posted to YouTube, which explains the highlight drought. But why?
Why would the FFT think it was in their best interest to block these clips? It can’t be exclusivity, because the FFT is offering hardly any of these clips anywhere on their website or on any YouTube channel. No other slam has instituted this kind of policy, and it’s only hurting the tournament.
Let’s just look at some of the math:
If you search for the 2013 Australian Open and sort the results by number of views, you can see just how many people are viewing these YouTube clips. Several of the clips have more than a million views each, and many have hundreds of thousands of views. Do the same search for the 2013 French Open, and there’s absolutely nothing. So the FFT is taking a pass on allowing millions of people to view clips from their tournament. For what purpose?
Take it one step further. Our site regularly posts video clips from tournaments, and we receive thousands of visitors per day. Yet we’ve posted very few Roland Garros videos, because they’re simply not available. We’ve even decided not to post about certain happenings because there is no video to go along with it. Yes, we can write up a summary of a funny incident, but in this day and age, sports fans have come to expect video.
How many tennis sites, some much bigger and some smaller than ours, are out there having the same dilemma? We can’t cover some of the best shots of the tournament or the biggest stories of the day when everything is blocked. The FFT’s policy is causing their tournament to receive much less coverage on blogs and sports websites.
Looking at the big picture, FFT is turning away millions of fans from engaging with their tournament. Again, for what? They have no interest in posting these clips themselves, so what exactly is the point in making sure that tennis fans can’t watch clips that are just buried in a vault someplace?
Let’s hope that no other tournaments follow suit. This is just dumb, pointless, and harmful to their own tournament and sport.