“If they pay $100 million for the tennis, good on them.”

James Warburton may not get to bid on the tennis, but he is tipping Nine to pay $40m more than their last deal.

Speculation is high that Nine is close to a deal with Tennis Australia for the Australian Open rights.

Yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald reported Nine had offered about $85 million per annum several weeks ago, but Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley was seeking about $100 million per year in cash and contra, an increase of about $40 million on the existing arrangement.

Negotiations come at a time when Cricket Australia is also looking to its next broadcasting deal across coming weeks.

Nine has first rights in the AO bidding process, with Seven unable to bid during the incumbent broadcaster’s exclusivity period.

Seven West Media CEO James Warburton yesterday told TV Tonight, “Obviously, there’s a first obligation and reports of that. It’s up to the tennis and Nine to work out. Both summer sports are in the market.

“I don’t know what Nine have got, whether it’s a six month or a three month first (obligation) but they’re obviously in that scenario.”

Seven is due to announce its 2023 Upfronts later today, but might an imminent announcement of the next AO deal be seen as a spoiler? Not if it comes with a hefty price tag for Nine.

“I think Nine will announce (today) that they’ve paid 100 million bucks,” Warburton tipped.

“If they pay $100 million for the tennis, good on them.”

Seven’s Upfronts begin at 5pm AEDT today.

22 Responses

  1. He sounds a little salty, with the context of being stuck with a cricket deal that has become a dud because it’s mostly Big Bash content that is non exclusive and suffering ratings decline.

  2. The reason why 9 dropped the cricket was becuase they are losing money from rain delays & early finishes. THis was why 9 opted for tennis as the rights are lucrative – which gave chance to promote their programming lineup. And this helped 9 to help increase its audience shares during the official rating season.
    I have mixed opinions about 9’s tennis coverage – apart from streaming courts on 9now, they use the TA graphics. Back when 7 had tennis, they use their own graphics. 7’s tennis hosts became a farce since 2010 especially Hamish (who was unbearable). And when 9 took over, covrage became unbearable with some sweeping statements being made. There is too much drama on 9’s promos of AUs Open. Bracey was OK, but TJ, Bec and Erin were unbearable where they clearly don’t have any clue what the schedule was. But since Bec & Erin departed 9, coverage slowly improved with the addition of Roz Kelly. Roz does have a lot of charisma than Bec.

    1. 9 dropped the cricket because cricket aust and Ch9 didnt agree on the streaming rights. thats the real reason! ch 9 wanted exclusive rights to the streaming along with the tv coverage…Cricket Aust didnt agree with that….so they parted ways!

  3. 9 will not want to lose tennis rights, not only as a perfect lead into rating year but also Wimbledon is a 2 week rating win.
    9 are slowly chipping away at 7’s AFL hold during June/July period over the last few years.
    Origin/Tennis & Rugby internationals combined if timed well should provide enough to dominate rating over a 4-6 week perioid especially Thurs/Fri/Sat that 7 currently makes ground on 9’s Sunday to Wednesday rating dominance.

  4. The AFL i understand a big price figure even though i think thats over priced too but as others have said, thats essentially a 28 week undertaking a year (including finals etc) and brings in the ratings. The tennis on the other hand is basically 2 weeks for $100m? if true, thats ridiculous. Even though yeah it does kick start your year with all eyeballs essentially on you to advertise your year. What i will say though is i’m not enthused about Channel 9’s coverage. I don’t rate it very highly at all. I know most of the commentary team etc came over but Nines hosts are terrible. The first year was atrocious and they haven’t improved much since. Guess we will see what happens. I know with the Commonwealth Games and Olympics coming to Australia, there is that to be dealt with as well plus the Cricket rights up in the air too so be interesting to see where everything falls. A lot going on rn when it comes to sport.

  5. Hellavah lot of money to be paying for people to be watching for hours on end players sweating it out banging their balls back and forth just to be up there on top of their opponents. 👍 all’s far when it comes to ratings though.

  6. I think too many look for the big numbers or headlines in regards to decisions (like ratings or players). But look at the whole tournament as a whole day proposition, didn’t Nine dominate every single day and night (network and main channel) in total and all demographics, let alone the rest of summer (which often does well too on a m/c if an Aussie makes that final which did with Kokkinakis in Adelaide too). Not to mention the lower rights fees compared to say cricket and that it’s not really a loss leader or at least pre covid wasn’t. Hard not to see why Nine won’t let it go and a master-stroke if Seven get it back or say 10 of Foxtel.

  7. One of main reasons why 9 went for the last Australian Open tennis rights (and other Australian Warm-up tournaments) was that they knew that would be “exclusive” to the network whereas with the Cricket rights that were happening at the same time, they knew that Foxtel were going to get the TV rights in some way, sharp or form.
    That “exclusive” factor + looking at the cricketing international summer fixtures in Australia for the next few years, most will finish after the Sydney test match leaving the mid-late January window open to a broadcaster, you be thinking that getting the tennis over the cricket is a better deal.

  8. You have to admit that the major tennis tournaments are definitely going to bring viewers. But they shouldn’t take it for granted as poor coverage can leave a bad impression on the network.

  9. I just wish they would swap back and 9 have the cricket and 7 the tennis. Both have been terrible since it all changed in my humble opinion. Also while I’m at it, Melbourne Cup back to Bruce and the 7 team. Seems so silly to me that 7 have all the other carnivals except the Melb Cup on their main channel.

    1. I agree with @Jude. The cricket coverage on Seven is nowhere as good as Nine’s. We get less one day cricket on free to air since the change. Likewise Seven did a good job with the Australian Open Tennis.

    2. When 9 lost the cricket, cricket lost its golden image & went down south. CA decided to sell the rights to Fox/7 worth 6 years at $1.125 billion. The problem was that CA are very arrogant and put profits over fans. I heard on ABC radio & a person told that greed will kill sport. When Fox took over cricket, crowd nos have declined. Without the ODIs, many people will miss out especially people in hospitals, nursing homes, low incomes & remote areas with limited Pay TV coverage. Not everyone can afford FOx.

    1. The Australian Open is only a fortnight, but it’s big numbers and allows Nine to crush it’s opponent and promote it’s line-up at the start of ratings. Tennis Australia gets around $400+ m from the global rights and the local rights are just the icing. A few years ago TA were doing back room deals to let Seven have the Tennis for less than $30m. A lot of the extra money will be for streaming rights, watching when and where every they want is what consumers are used to and will demand. Wharburton is just trying to cause trouble by creating the $100m figure. An increase from 60m to 80 or 85m is what most experts expect.

  10. Regular readers of this website will understand the importance of sport to FTA even as a financial loss leader thanks to David’s past posts on this. But for mind, it is getting a little silly. If it is $100 million pa for 14 nights of Summer time prime time (I realize there are other tournaments covered also but it really is about the Oz Open), one wonders when the wheels really fall off. The AFL was massive $$ but at least this is during ratings and is over 20+ weeks. Maybe nine starts putting more on Stan to help monetize. Just another reason to fret for FTA.

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