EXCLUSIVE: Roland Garros Aims To Become A Global Leader In The Tennis Gaming Industry
Officials from the French Open have spoken to Ubitennis about the reasons why they have decided to venture into online gaming.
Later this week a group of individuals from across Great Britain will travel to London to participate in a brand new event that promises to bring the worlds of tennis and e-gaming together.
The qualifying leg of the RGeSeries by BNP Paribas will get underway on Friday. It will be the latest in a series of events taking place around the world. The winners will travel to Roland Garros, venue of the French Open, on May 25th for the finals. The inaugural e-gaming tournament follows the examples set out by other sports such as football with Spain’s La Liga and the German Bundesliga having their own leagues.
Interest in the tournament has been reported as ‘quite satisfactory’ by its European coordinator Adrien Groscolas, who has spoken with ubitennis.net. A total of 32 participants will feature in the London event. The majority of entrants got in on a first come, first serve basis. Although a select few has been awarded a wild card by BNP Paribas, the sponsor of the event. The game they will play is a special Roland Garros demo of Bigben’s World Tennis Tour, which will be released on May 22nd.
“The interest for the event has been quite satisfactory so far, this is mostly due, we believe, to the fact that we are the first major tennis event to launch this kind of competition.” Said Groscolas.
“Regarding the UK event in particular, things are moving well, we shall be having a good draw.”
Full list of qualifying events
China (Beijing, March 26th)
Brazil (Belo Horizonte, April 15th)
France (Paris, April 25th)
Italy (Rome, May 2nd)
UK (London, May 4th)
India (Delhi, May 5th)
Belgium (Brussels, May 9th)
Spain (Madrid, May 16th)
New plan, big ideas
The rapid growth of esports is the principal driving force behind Roland Garros’ latest initiative. According to industry figures, it is set to generate more than £1bn in revenue by 2020. In 2016 the revenue was estimated at £400 million. Furthermore, the global audience is on course to surge to almost 600 million in 2020. Organisers of the 2024 Olympic Games are already in talks with the IOC about introducing esports as one of their demonstration sports.
“Roland-Garros launched the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas as an answer to the global growth of e-gaming and to bring together the international gaming and tennis fans communities, which have both been waiting for a competition of that kind for a long time.” Deputy CEO Stéphane Morel told Ubitennis.
It is for this reason why many have welcome the move by the French Open. Although they are not contempt of just being the first, organisers are set on being the market leader in the sport.
“Hosting the finals of the event within the Roland-Garros stadium clearly shows that Roland-Garros fully integrates e-gaming into its strategy.” Said Morel.
“As the first ever Grand Slam to organize this kind of competition, the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas are a significant first step towards more developments into the tennis gaming industry and Roland-Garros looks forward to being a leader on that topic.”
Roland Garros hopes their e-gaming series will become a regular fixture. There is currently no fixed deal in place concerning the future of the event.