Seven's summer scheduling woes as Nine drops tennis deal

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 18 June 2018

Nine is set to head into the summer of 2019 without a major sports rights deal, refusing to pay $60 million to Seven for the rights to the Australian Open.

A spokesperson from Nine confirmed today that it was walking away from negotiations with Seven to broadcast the 2019 tennis tournament.

Seven's $60 million offer was similar to the costs Nine paid for the 2020-2024 seasons of tennis.

Seven is now stuck with the rights to two major Australian sporting codes, after nabbing the media rights for cricket from Nine and Ten in a deal worth at least $1 billion over six years.

The deal will sees Seven pick up domestic test matches, including one Ashes series and the majority of the Big Bash League (BBL).

Both the BBL and Australian Open run concurrently, with the BBL's first game generally taking place a week before Christmas and ending in early February, and the Open running from 14 January until 27 January.

If Seven was to hold onto the rights for both events, it runs the risk of having to evenly spread both the Open and BBL finals across its main, and multichannels, in the same week.

Nine's departure from the 2019 deal will have no impact of the recently inked $300 million five-year tennis deal which encompasses the Open, as well as the lead-up tournaments around Australia, the Hopman Cup in Perth and the Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart Internationals.

Nine acquired all audiovisual rights for broadcast, streaming, mobile, digital and social platforms under the deal with Tennis Australia.

Nine will work with Tennis Australia and other industry stakeholders to find other distribution channels that will complement Nine’s broadcast of tennis.

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