After much negotiating Nine has reached agreement with Tennis Australia and the Seven Network to bring forward its rights deal to broadcast the Australian Open by one year.
Nine had secured the rights from 2020 but Seven after Seven secured Cricket it was facing a scheduling conflict, while Nine was without a major summer sporting event.
Despite reports of a Mexican stand-off over the price-tag Nine has now revealed it paid $48.5m for the 2019 rights, less than the $60m it pays annually from 2020. The deal includes all audio-visual rights for broadcast, streaming, mobile, digital and social platforms.
The new deal means Nine will be the home of Australia’s highest rating summer sport for six years, commencing in January 2019.
Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine, said: “There’s an air of excitement at Nine about being the new home of tennis, so to be able to start our new deal a year early brings us all much delight. As I said back in March, the timing of tennis and the audience demographics it delivers are a perfect fit for Nine and its advertisers. We’re also mighty pleased to have been able to settle on a price for the additional year that is consistent with our original offer to Seven.”
Craig Tiley, Australian Open Tournament Director and Tennis Australia CEO, said: “2019 marks a new era for Tennis Australia with a new domestic broadcast partner in Nine. We’ve enjoyed a 40-plus year partnership with the Seven Network and are glad we could reach an agreement which is in all our best interests.
“Our objectives throughout this process have been to focus on meeting changing viewer habits, bringing the entire AO event experience to life on all platforms and capitalising on the digital wave.
“We are excited by the move to Nine this summer and the opportunity it gives us to expand our content which will not only fuel further growth of our events but most importantly the sport of tennis in Australia.”
Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner: “We are very proud of the many ideas we brought to our Tennis coverage during our long partnership with the sport. I would like to pay tribute to the hundreds of Seven people who worked with such passion and pride on both sides of the camera over the years.
“This deal is a great outcome for Seven, delivering a profit for our shareholders, and freeing us up to concentrate on making our coverage of cricket the very best that it can be.”
Nine has now secured the exclusive rights to Australian Open, the Hopman Cup and the Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart Internationals until 2024.