Nine to buy 2019 tennis rights from Seven for $48.5m

The hole in Nine’s upcoming summer broadcasting schedule has been filled, with the network agreeing to buy the rights to the tennis for 2019 from rival Seven for $48.5m.

Nine was potentially facing a summer without sport after it lost the cricket rights to Seven and Foxtel, and its hold on the tennis not commencing until 2020.

Nine will broadcast the Australian Open from 2019

Nine had already signed a deal to pay $60m per year for the tennis between 2020 and 2024. In bringing the deal forward for a further $48.5m, Nine said the make-up of the rights package remained the same.

“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,” a statement from Nine said.

“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.”

It was previously reported Seven had walked away from the negotiations, with Nine CEO High Marks telling The Sydney Morning Herald: “We haven’t been able to get to an agreement.”

Today, however, Marks said he was “mighty pleased” to have finally reached an agreement with his rival.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

It is understood Seven paid $40m per year for the tennis.

Craig Tiley, the tournament director for the Australian Open and CEO of Tennis Australia said the deal was in the sporting body’s best interests.

“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 said the deal was a great outcome for Seven, as it delivered profit for shareholders and freed up time for staff to concentrate on making its cricket broadcast the best 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 advertising partners.”

Nine has a similar sentiment about its new tennis deal, adding that the agreement will provide it with an unparalleled launch platform for the television ratings year, which commences immediately after the Australian Open tournament.


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