The Nine network has grabbed the exclusive right to broadcast, stream online and deliver to mobile premium tennis in Australia from rival Seven.
Nine Entertainment today entered into an agreement to pay $300 million to Tennis Australia for the right to broadcast tennis played in Australia for the 2020 to 2024 seasons.
The deal breaks Seven’s 40-year hold televising tennis matches. That network had reportedly been paying around $35 million a year for tennis rights. The deal with Nine adds another $25 million a year to that number.
The Australian Open is among the most watched programs on television. The men’s final last year was the second most watched program of 2017, with a national average audience of 3.64 million.
This year’s men’s final had a national average audience of 2.369 million and is ranked as the number one sports program and the third most watched program on Australian television so far in 2018.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley called the agreement a landmark deal for Tennis Australia.
“Four years ago, we brought the host broadcast for all our events in-house and this success has allowed us to unlock even more value in our domestic media rights,” he says.
“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 programing year-round was also aligned to our strategy.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Nine has the exclusive live rights including free-to-air, subscription television, streaming, mobile and social media.
The deal includes the Australian Open as well as the lead up tournaments around Australia — the Hopman Cup and the Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart Internationals.
The annual cash cost to Nine is $60 million.
“We are very excited to have secured the rights to premium Australian tennis, particularly the Australian Open,” says Nine CEO Hugh Marks.
“The timing of tennis, and the audience demographics, are a perfect fit with Nine’s audiences and advertisers.
“We are impressed with Tennis Australia’s approach to further growing both its events, particularly the Australian Open, and the associated broadcast proposition in Australia, and are excited to be part of that future.”
Under the deal, Nine will work with Tennis Australia and other industry stakeholders to find other distribution channels to complement Nine’s broadcast of tennis.
Tom Malone, Nine’s Director of Sport, he’s delighted that Wide World of Sports will become the new home of tennis in Australia.
“The Australian Open is an incredible tournament and event which will complement our existing rights across NRL, State of Origin, Netball and The Masters, as well as providing benefits to our news, entertainment and lifestyle pillars,” he says.
“Critical to this deal is the exclusive acquisition of all rights, which means we are unrestricted in our ability to serve tennis to audiences across the country anytime, anywhere, on the platform of their choosing.”