Nine secures Australian Open for 2019

Seven sells the Australian Open to Nine for $48.5m for 2019.

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.

20 Responses

  1. Goodbye Hamish McLaughlin. I am a fair critic but just awful as a host. Looking forward to Aust Open on Nine. Seven coverage became Ho hum in the end. Possibly the reason they lost it.

  2. I like tennis and used TV & ipad to watch the matches live. However, the commentary from Basil and Hamish is very substandard with lack of knowledge and chemistry. I almost stopped watching tennis on 7 because of the two guys talking other things instead of concentrating on the game.

  3. I feel this will be good for Tennis Australia in general. Nine also wins Sydney and dominates northern NSW regionally, so any promotion there will be fantastic for, let’s face it, an event that is glorified around Melbourne. If that makes sense.

  4. Tennis on 9 and cricket on 7. Still getting my head around it.

    What happened to the hype with CBS? They don’t seem to have done anything with Channel 10. Biggest loser this summer.

    1. I believe Hobart International was not part of Seven’s current broadcast deal with Tennis Australia (it was shown on Fox Sports this year) so it will be a small bonus for Nine. Kooyong is an invitational tournament and separate to the TA deal as well. If Nine want to show it, it will need to sign a separate agreement with host Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

      1. Interesting. I always found Kooyong annoying because it took away from more relevant matches in Sydney. With two tournaments that week, I can’t see 9 being too excited to buy Kooyong rights as well.

  5. Really glad they came to an agreement and happy to see a fresh approach to tennis. Harsh thing to say, but hoping they drop Todd Woodbridge and give tennis a new look. Seven did do a really good job though (in last 5 or so years at least) of ensuring that when tennis is being played, you can watch it live, either on TV or the app. If Nine can’t at least offer the same access they will be in for a rough time.

    1. 6 weeks of live Australian Sport seems pretty local to me.

      Trouble is if both sides have overpaid for the rights, which in both cases the outgoing broadcaster claims to be the case, a year or two down the line it’ll soon become obvious they’re spending less on production to cut costs.

      1. To get Seven to budge from $60m. Nine were offering $50m last week, so I’d guess both TA and CA were pressuring Seven to do a deal. Nine are paying $300m over 5 years, but it will start smaller than $60m and then increment each year. TA does the Tennis production because as host broadcaster they sell it globally, so Nine will only lose half as much on the Tennis as they did on the cricket even though they are paying more than Seven did. Fox Sports will be doing a lot of the cricket production.

  6. I’m a huge tennis fan and I haven’t liked Seven’s coverage for awhile. Their digital coverage was great with most courts available and excellent commentary but listening to Basil Zempilas and Hamish McLachlan on the main channel commentate tennis with no knowledge or insight has been painful. I hope Nine has coverage the tournament and fans deserve, with hosts and commentators who are not necessarily ex-players, but at least have an enjoyment and knowledge of the game.

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