Australian Open finals between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and the Williams sisters caused a surge in advertiser interest in Seven's coverage of the Australian Open.
This year's tournament had softer ratings in the first compared week to last year, largely due to Lleyton Hewitt's farewell pulling in fans in 2016. However, a flurry of interest at the business end of this year's competition and two fairytale endings pulled in huge TV audiences across the Seven network.
The men's open final drew the largest tennis TV audience in a decade, with 3.6 million Australians tuning in and a metro audience of 2.7 million. The Williams sisters decider on Saturday drew a TV audience of 1.77 million Australians, including 1.3 million metro viewers.
Meanwhile, Thursday night's Australia Day showdown between Federer and Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka drew an average TV audience of 1.6 million, with a peak audience of 2.2 million viewers, while Rafa Nadal's victory over Grigor Dimitrov drew 1.5 million with a peak of 2.2 million.
“There's a frenzy of advertisers buying in - a big surge and spike on the tournament and on last year for sure,” Seven West Media chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette tells AdNews.
“Clients are seeing what this moment will mean and looking to be a part of it. The power of live sport and tennis and the great story that this will bring.”
Prior to the decider, Burnette predicted a Federer-Nadal showdown could draw a TV audience that will “fall into the top five or six rating tournaments in history.”
“This year will be another record year of revenue for the summer of tennis. The sponsorship has always taken the majority [of revenue] as a percentage. This year, the splits between sponsorships and spot buyers is about the same,” Burnette points out.
As it turned out, the epic five-set encounter was the largest TV audience for tennis in more than a decade with a peak of 4.4 million.
Burnette tells AdNews that sponsorships still contribute the lion's share of tennis revenue, around 50% of the total, with the rest made up by spot buying and pure digital plays.
He adds that the demand for short-term spot buying has been so strong this year that Seven's sales team have had "a million dollar week", and advertisers are increasingly looking for tennis-MKR "one-two punches".
“This year, a lot more advertisers are buying packages with the tennis and the start of My Kitchen Rules. For example, they will be a spot in the first week of the tennis on Seven, then they might buy a spot in the second week on Seven Two and then they'll buy a spot on My Kitchen Rules," Burnette explains.
“This creates a powerful audience platform in what we call the fast start to the year. There's no better one-two punch than the Australian Open tennis straight into My Kitchen Rules. It's what makes out show launches so successful for us and our clients.”
Broadcast partners for this year's event include Kia, Blackmores, ANZ, William Hill, TAL, Bunnings Warehouse, APT, Industry Super Funds.
Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at email@example.com