Nine looks to a summer without sport after Australian Open deal with Seven falls through

Seven and Nine have walked away from discussions over a 2019 Australian Open deal, which would have seen the competition air on the Nine Network ahead of the start of its 2020 contract.

Nine boss Hugh Marks told the Sydney Morning Herald he had ended discussions after Seven rejected his network’s “very fair offer”, leaving Nine without a high profile sport over the 2018-19 summer period.

Nine scored itself a five year broadcasting rights deal with Tennis Australia from 2020, but was in negotiations with Seven to buy the rights for 2019

The article is reporting the offer was a $10m premium on Seven’s current deal with Tennis Australia, which is worth $40m. However, Seven wanted a figure closer to the $60m agreement Nine reached with Tennis Australia under its new contract, worth $300m over five years. Nine’s new contract includes digital, broadcast, streaming, social and mobile rights.

“We haven’t been able to get to an agreement,” Marks told the SMH.

Discussions had been underway between the two networks after Seven snatched the cricket rights from Nine in April. The landmark deal struck by Seven and Foxtel – which costs $1b over six years – commences this summer.

The failed negotiations leave Nine without a summer sport for the 2018-19 period. Marks told the SMH he would have a “significant cost-saving” year as a result, but added new programming would be commissioned over the summer.

Meanwhile, Seven must choose which sport to broadcast on the main channel when there is a clash in the schedule. According to the SMH, Seven’s Tennis Australia contract specifies the Open should be aired on main channel.

Mumbrella has approached Tennis Australia for comment. Nine and Seven declined to comment.


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