Sport Tennis Channel Nine’s $300m tennis broadcast coup

Channel Nine’s $300m tennis broadcast coup

Roger Federer celebrates his 2017 Australian Open success. Photo: Getty
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Tennis Australia has secured a $300 million broadcast rights deal that will break Channel Seven’s decades-long stranglehold on the sport – and may shakeup cricket rights as well.

The five-year deal from 2020 to 2024 covers television, streaming, mobile and digital rights and is estimated to be about $100 million more than Seven paid for its current five-year deal.

Included in the rights is the Australian Open in Melbourne and its lead-up tournaments, the Hopman Cup in Perth and the Brisbane, Sydney
and Hobart Internationals.

On the ASX, Nine Entertainment shares were up five cents to $2.28 on the news. Seven West Media was steady at 55 cents.

A TV industry source told The New Daily that Nine would “have to ditch the cricket” as a result of the deal, but added Nine’s latest bid for cricket “had been rejected, apparently”.

If Nine did drop the cricket, “one of three things is going to happen,” the source said. “CBS floats a massive bid for the Tests and Ten gets the full cricket portfolio. Seven picks it up. Or a Telstra or the like buys the rights to it.”

Will Seven be in strife without the tennis, and with marquee shows like My Kitchen Rules being trounced this year by Nine? “Potentially. The tennis ratings are good every year,” the source replied.

In a statement Tennis Australia said the 2017 Australian Open mens final was the second most watched program of last year, with a national average audience of 3.64 million. This year’s men’s final in January secured a national average audience of 2.369 million.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said the big dollar deal followed his organisation’s move four years ago to bring the host broadcast for the Melbourne event in-house.

“This success has allowed us to unlock even more value in our domestic media rights,” he said.

Our objective going into this process was a growth plan for exposure across the key planks of both tennis and non-tennis content, and the Nine offer best met these requirements.

“Nine’s commitment to additional tennis programming year-round was also aligned to our strategy. There are components within this new agreement which we believe will help us further grow our events and the sport of tennis.”

Nine indicated it could seek broadcast partners on other platforms as part of the package, with Nine chief executive Hugh Marks saying the network hoped to build on the audience tennis could deliver.

“The timing of tennis and the audience demographics it delivers are a perfect fit for Nine and its advertisers,” Mr Marks said.

“We share Tennis Australia’s passion to grow its events, particularly the Australian Open, and expand its broadcast proposition in this country.”

Channel Nine boss Hugh Marks comments on the deal:

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