Nine has announced that it has reached agreement with Tennis Australia and the Seven Network to bring forward its rights deal to broadcast tennis by one year.
The new deal means Nine will be the home of Australia’s highest rating summer sport for six years, commencing in January 2019.
Under the terms of the landmark agreement, Nine has now secured the exclusive rights to all world-class tennis played in Australia from 2019 to 2024.
The rights granted for the one-year extension are exactly as per the original deal, meaning Nine has acquired all audio-visual rights for broadcast, streaming, mobile, digital and social platforms, starting with the coming summer of tennis.
In return for agreeing to take on the rights one year early, Nine was able to secure the 2019 rights for a cost of $48.5 million, compared to $60 million from 2020.
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.”
Tim Worner, CEO of Seven west Media, said: “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.
“We are now turning our full-time attention to the 70 days and nights of cricket we have coming up, kicking off with the Australian women’s T20 test against New Zealand straight after the AFL Grand Final on September 29.
“And then it’s into the first of our historic summers of cricket, which will set new audience records, and give us a level of consistency and surety on our content for years to come.
“The combination of Big Bash and Test Cricket, live and free, on Australia’s number one network gives us a powerful and unprecedented marketing platform for our own content and our advertising partners.”
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.”