Tennis Australia has agreed to a bumper five-year extension of its broadcast partnership that makes the Nine Network the sport’s home until at least 2029.
The existing deal wasn’t due to expire until the end of the 2024 Australian Open but the extension includes a $425 million cash injection – worth $85 million per year – that is TA’s biggest ever.
It is a significant jump on the current arrangement, which covered the 2018-2024 period and cost Nine Entertainment $300 million.
Nine and TA were locked in exclusive negotiations in recent weeks under the broadcaster’s ‘first and last rights’ clause as part of the deal signed in 2018.
TA chief executive Craig Tiley said Nine had demonstrated 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,” Tiley said.
“This new deal further strengthens that relationship, in which our organisations work as a true co-operative 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 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.”
The five-year contract awards Nine the domestic broadcast rights for the Australian Open and summer of tennis lead-in tournaments, including new country-based team competition the United Cup and other special events.
The deal follows a record-breaking Australian Open at the start of 2022, helped by Ash Barty’s drought-breaking women’s singles title run and an all-local doubles final won by Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
The women’s final attracted the highest rating of all time, with an Australian television audience of 3.835 million, according to OzTAM.
The men’s singles final came in at 2.333 million viewers, making it the highest rating in four years.
A record almost 2.5 million viewers tuned into Kyrgios and Kokkinakis’ doubles triumph, while 9Now increased its Australian Open streaming coverage by 171 per cent on last year.
Nine CEO Mike Sneesby said tennis’ “broad and very passionate following” fit perfectly with Nine’s schedule, audiences and advertisers.
“The Australian Open has delivered some of Australia’s most iconic sporting moments and largest television audiences,” Sneesby said.
“Together, we are committed to bringing these great moments to all Australians live and free.”