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Nine to bring ‘sizzle’ to Australian Open tennis with ‘best seat in house’ strategy

A cross-platform strategy focused on generating content across news, sports, lifestyle and entertainment coupled with commentators including John McEnroe, Alicia Molk and Jelena Dokic are among Nine’s 2019 Tennis Australia plans.

The network confirmed a $300m deal Tennis Australia earlier this year, marking the first time in more than 40 years the sport would not be on Seven.

Nine unveiled its strategy this afternoon

The contract was set to kick off in 2020, but Seven ended up selling the last year of rights to Nine, as it focused on its new sports offering, the cricket.

At Tennis Australia’s First Serve event Melbourne this afternoon, Nine unveiled its ‘Best in the house’ offering, which will see breakfast show The Today Show run 14 days of live coverage from Melbourne, a pop-up experience from Nine’s Wide World of Sports and a dedicated destination, ‘Summer Serve’ on 9Honey.

Tom Malone, Nine’s director of sport said next year would not just be about the on-court action, but would also accommodate for event lovers.

“When Nine secured the tennis rights we promised a true cross-platform strategy, and together Nine and we will do that by relentlessly pursuing a ‘Best Seat in the House’ strategy,” Malone said.

“Nine’s coverage of The Australian Open will showcase the best and the biggest matches through our various pillars and we can’t wait to bring that storytelling and Nine sizzle to the Australian Open – a celebration of food, music and kids.”

Although Nine wouldn’t disclose the content schedule, it announced the matches would run across main channel, the multi-channels and 9Now, to ensure all Australians could view the content.

Joining the lineup of commentators are tennis stars John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Todd Woodbridge, Alicia Molik, Jelena Dokic, Sam Groth and Dylan Alcott.

The new lineup will also include Nine’s Rebecca Maddern, James Bracey and Tony Jones.

Malone said the lineup was a combination of “fresh faces” and “familiar names”.

“The Australian Open is the country’s pre-eminent summer sporting event and we’re confident our new-look team will help to instil a renewed passion for the game into lovers of tennis around Australia,” he said.

Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open Tournament director, described the relationship and “strong and strategic”.

“Another key objective is to expand the off-court content offerings in food, family and entertainment, all vital elements that create the incredible atmosphere and capture the spirit of the Australian summer,” Tiley said.

Nine will also look to implement its addressable advertising solution through the Australian Open. Nine launched the addressable advertising solution in market on Monday, claiming to be the first to do so.

Today, Matt Granger, Nine’s director of sales for sport, added: “Australian Open 2019 will also mark another milestone for the way we connect marketers with their target audience,” said Granger.

“With the launch of our real addressable advertising across our live streaming platform 9Now we are clearly catering to the demand for identity-based marketing through tennis, the biggest property of the summer.”

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