Nine To Ask Tennis Australia For Aus Open Discount
discount has been demanded by Nine Entertainment Co from Tennis Australia following the delay of next year’s Australian Open on the basis that it has failed to meet the requirements of its broadcast rights agreement.
Many companies have been forced to re-negotiate broadcast rights deals with sporting partners after the Covid-19 pandemic caused reduced terms, delays, and social distancing restrictions.
Nine is concerned that the delay of the iconic Australian Open may have an impact on the launch and audience numbers for Married at First Sight (MAFS), one of the network’s most popular television shows.
Sources familiar with the matter reported that the broadcaster will seek a reduction on its five-year, $300 million deal with Tennis Australia.
The deal had included events held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Hobart, after the confirmation of the final date of the grand slam.
While it is uncertain exactly how much Nine hopes to receive, it has grounds to ask for a discount due to the fact that the rescheduled tournament would not meet the broadcasters’ contracted dates.
Communication between Tennis Australia’s chief executive officer, Craig Tiley, and players revealed that February 8 is now the earliest the competition will begin and that strict guidelines would be in place; neither Tennis Australia nor Nine Entertainment has commented further on the matter.
Players will be permitted to leave quarantine for up to five hours per day, to spend time training on the court, in the gym, and eating at Melbourne Park.
With Tennis Australia covering charter flights, and quarantine costs for players and their entourages, including meals and accommodation, and total costs reaching roughly $40 million; the discount will surely cause significant financial suffering.
Rent relief will be provided to Tennis Australia from the Olympic and Melbourne Parks Trust to offer support during this time.
In 2018, when Nine won the broadcast rights, they said in a statement that tennis would act as a “launch platform” for television ratings; attracting large audiences and advertisers which they hoped would stay to view other programs.
With a viewership of 2.03 million, the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem made the men’s Australian Open one of the highest-rating events of this year.
Shortly after the tournament had taken place, MAFS was launched, ending with a total viewership of 1.6 million.
Nine has also successfully revised their NRL rights earlier in the year, after a $1.8 billion deal was created between Nine with Foxtel and Telstra until 2022, delayed forced the company to renegotiate.
After Foxtel renegotiated their part of the deal, extending coverage until 2027, Nine said it would save $27.5 million for 2021/22; and would also get a reduction in 2020 due to the modified season.
Seven West Media is also in the process of waiting for an evaluation from an independent expert, which will recommend a reduction size for the broadcasting rights to the summer cricket.
The company has lodged separate, federal court proceedings and is seeking access to communications with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Foxtel, and state governments.