Seven retains golf rights and appears set to keep tennis too

The Seven Network has announced it has retained the broadcast rights for golf contests the Australian Masters and Perth International,and appears poised to hang on to the tennis rights too.

The Australian Financial Review reports, the TV network is likely to pay $30m a year to secure a further five year deal for the tennis rights, about 50 per cent up on the $105m over five years it currently pays.

Speculation about a deal comes as Seven confirmed it had extended its existing contract for the sports rights to golf for a further three years.

“We are delighted to be extending our commitment to golf. Seven was the home of the Australian Masters for over twenty years through the height of the Greg Norman era,” said Saul Shtein, head of sport for the Seven Network.

A deal between Seven and Tennis Australia would put noses out of joint at the Ten Network which has called for the the sporting body to put the rights out for auction.

Last week Ten CEO Hamish McLennan was asked at the Mumbrella360 conference whether after missing out on the full rights to cricket he would pursue the tennis.

He told the audience: “Tennis Australia are in exclusive negotiations with Channel Seven at the moment but I think they would be mad not to put it to the open market.

“If you look at what happened with cricket the rights went up . . . [by 118 per cent] so unless they test the market they don’t know how monetiseable it is.”

Rumours that Tennis Australia might not auction the rights has surprised many TV industry observers, especially with reports Ten would be willing to pay as much as $50m a year.

Media analyst Steve Allen said in his view any bid above $30m would be overpriced and unprofitable for the winning network.

“At $30m per annum it’s fully price and up more than 50 per cent on the previous record,” said Allen.

“If Tennis Australia has made this decision, then they don’t believe a better offer is coming in from Ten, and Seven is obviously saying here is our offer and it has a deadline on it.”

Earlier this year, The Australian reported that Tennis Australia board member and Aegis Media boss Harold Mitchell had been lobbying his fellow board members to lock in their broadcast rights with Seven rather than seeking offers elsewhere.

Ten has been keen to acquire another big sporting franchise after Nine retained the international cricket rights earlier this month.

Nic Christensen and Megan Reynolds


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.