Channel Nine is set to broadcast The Australian Open a year early with a $48.5 million deal with Seven Network. Nine had initially signed a deal in March for the rights of Melbourne-based Grand Slam between 2020-24.
Channel Nine has secured the rights to broadcast The Australian Open from 2019 after a prolonged series of negotiations between Nine, Tennis Australia and Seven Network.
Nine had already agreed on a $300 million deal to secure the rights to broadcast the first Grand Slam tournament of the Year on the annual tennis calendar. The deal was to run from 2020 to 2024.
However, the present deal will see exclusive live coverage of the Australian Open move on the to free-to-air Nine Network a year earlier than had been initially planned.
The move has resulted from Seven’s deal to secure the rights of Australia’s domestic cricket from 2019 which would possibly result in a clash of dates between the Australian Open and and Australian Test matches.
Therefore, it made sense for Seven to relinquish their Australian Open rights 12 months earlier than their contractual obligation. Failure to do so would have resulted in one of the tennis or cricket coverage on Seven being relegated from the network’s primary channel to one of its multi-channels.
The deal also gives Nine the rights to the Australian Open’s streaming, mobile, digital and social platforms, as well as the rights to the Australia-based tournaments in the build-up to the grand slam.
Craig Tiley, chief executive of Tennis Australia, said, “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. We are excited by the move to Nine this summer and the opportunity it gives us to expand our content.”