Tennis Australia, the national governing body, has confirmed commercial broadcaster Nine Network has extended its domestic rights agreement for the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament covering the 2025 to 2029 seasons.
The deal includes exclusive live rights covering free-to-air, subscription television, subscription video on demand, streaming, mobile, and social media, and highlights of the tournament, which it will air across its linear channels and streaming service Stan.
The package also includes extensive catch-up rights to tournaments held in Australia in the lead-up to the Australian Open, including the newly launched United Cup mixed national teams competition, the Adelaide International, and the Hobart International, as well as Australian team matches in the men’s Davis Cup and women’s Billie Jeanie King Cup national teams tournaments.
The deal, worth a record AUD425 million ($283 million) in cash over the five years, is about AUD125 million higher than Nine Network’s existing five-year contract worth around AUD300 million in total and AUD60 million per year, covering the 2020 to 2024 editions.
Nine's average annual cash rights fee over the contract period is $85 million per year, starting lower and increasing over the term of the deal. The agreement also includes an unspecified amount of contra or non-cash benefits, such as TV advertising.
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley (pictured right) said: “Nine has shown a serious year-round commitment to continue to grow tennis.
“Together we have regularly set and exceeded targets for ourselves in what has been a highly productive partnership thus far. This new deal further strengthens that relationship in which our organizations work as a true cooperative on the broadcast, production, innovation, and promotion of our events and sport. It will ensure we are reaching audiences of all ages and backgrounds across multiple platforms with a high-quality product.
“We want to show our sport at its best to continually excite tennis fans, while also appealing to a new generation of fans and players across Australia. This new deal will certainly help us do that.”
Nine won the rights to the current rights cycle in 2018, ending fellow commercial broadcaster Seven West Media’s 40-year relationship with the domestic Grand Slam tournament.
This year’s tournament delivered strong viewership results for the broadcaster, with the women’s final between Australia’s now-retired Ashleigh Barty and America’s Danielle Collins generating a record domestic audience of 3.835 million.
The men’s final, meanwhile, delivered the country’s highest audience since 2018 with 2.333 million viewers tuning in to see Spanish legend Rafael Nadal beat Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.
The deal will see Nine Network cement itself as the home of tennis in Australia after also securing the other three Grand Slam tournaments – the Wimbledon Championships, the US Open, and the French Open – which it airs across its linear channel and streaming service Stan.
Nine Network chief executive Mike Sneesby (pictured, left) said: “We are pleased to announce the extension of the partnership between Nine and Tennis Australia.
“Tennis attracts both a broad and very passionate following and is a perfect fit with Nine’s schedule, audiences, and advertisers. The Australian Open has delivered some of Australia’s most iconic sporting moments and largest television audiences and together, we are committed to bringing these great moments to all Australians live and free.”
The 2023 Australian Open will run from January 16 to 29 at Melbourne Park.
Last month, the ATP and WTA, organizers of tennis’ top men’s and women’s tours, teamed up with Tennis Australia to launch the United Cup, an annual mixed-gender national teams tournament that will act as a warmup event to the Australian Open.
The inaugural edition will feature mixed teams from 18 countries, who will compete from December 29, 2022, to January 8, 2023, in Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney.