Back

Wimbledon Final Broadcast Figures Revealed, Nine CEO Provides Strategy Update

C
hannel Nine has revealed the Saturday night women’s singles final of the Wimbledon Grand Slam tennis tournament recorded a national audience of 1.985 million.

The final was also broadcast on Stan Sport and on 9Now, which are yet to release figures for the event.

The men’s final of the 2021 Australian Open tournament in February recorded a national audience of 1.550 million, despite being shown at prime time compared to the Wimbledon final which was between 11pm-1am.

Speaking to Mediaweek, Nine CEO, Mike Sneesby, said Wimbledon, along with Rugby Australia’s international test series, are key drivers for Nine’s broadcast strategy.

“Those recent events are a really important demonstration of Nine’s strategy in total television,” Sneesby said.

“In particular what we are doing with sports television.

“Tennis and rugby in particular are two sports that fit into the total TV strategy where we acquired all rights with a distribution model that sits across subscription streaming with Stan as well as free and ad-funded on Nine and 9Now.

“Being able to acquire rights for both platforms makes it a viable proposition for those platforms.

“This past week in particular, with both sports running, you have seen the numbers of Stan Sport accelerating,” he said.

Discussing the broadcast numbers for Stan Sport, which are not commonly revealed, Sneesby said Rugby Australia’s match against France on Wednesday night drew an additional 200,000 viewers on top of Nine and 9Now’s broadcasts, with the 9Gem audience reaching 323,000.

“That Stan audience is attracted by it being ad-free,” Sneesby said.

“The strategy is clearly working for both platforms and is complimentary.

“There is no other television business in Australia that has the breadth of assets that Nine has across Nine and Stan when it comes to the ability to distribute sport,” he said.

On attaining more sports rights to provide Stan Sport with year-round coverage, Sneesby said: “When we negotiate sports rights, every sport has to make sense and be profitable in its own right.”

“We look at each sport and what it would bring to us in terms of subscriber numbers.

“We don’t have a strategy that says we have to have a certain number of sports to be successful…

“We have a good understanding of what is the right amount to pay.

“Even in the short time since we started Stan Sport, we have walked away from a number of different sports rights opportunities because the numbers did not stack up for us.

“The platform is presently working for us.

“If we acquire additional sport, they need to fit our commercial model,” Sneesby said.

Meanwhile, following the end of Wimbledon, the tournament organisers have confirmed two broadcast deal extensions, with both the BBC and ESPN in the UK and US respectively.

The extension with the BBC is until 2027, which will see the partnership reach over a century since the BBC first covered Wimbledon on radio in 1927.

BBC Sport director, Barbara Slater, said: “Wimbledon has a special place in the hearts of the nation and with this extension we can continue our longstanding and valued partnership with the All England Club.”

“Wimbledon on the BBC will continue to bring the nation must-see sporting moments free-to-air, captivating audiences of all ages,” Slater said.

In the US, ESPN will continue to cover the tournament until at least 2035 after signing a 12-year contract extension with the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

As part of the deal, ESPN will provide coverage from all courts on the ESPN+ streaming service, starting in 2024, with ESPN covering more than 140 hours of Wimbledon action across ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC.