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SBD Global/January 22, 2014/Media

Australian Cricket Team's Winning Summer Puts Dent In Australian Open TV Ratings

Roger Federer's clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got the highest Aussie Open rating.
The Australian cricket team's "bumper summer" and the Big Bash League's switch to free-to-air TV "has put a major dent in the television ratings for the Australian Open," according to Michael Chammas of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The Australian Open's "highest audience average across the five major cities" in '14 was 1.06 million for Roger Federer's fourth-round clash with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. However, the most watched Australian Open session "still ranked lower than all of the top-five sessions of this month's one-day international cricket series between Australia and England." Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic's first-round exits from the Australian Open "haven't helped Channel Seven's ratings, and they have had to rely on little-known teenagers Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios, as well as Casey Dellacqua, to boost ratings." However, Channel Seven "is not fazed by the figures and insists the ratings are in line with previous Australian Opens." A Channel Seven spokesperson said, "Our tennis coverage is in line with some of our best years. We are broadcasting over 77 more hours and using more channels to do it. We are rapt with the performance, as are our sponsors and viewers, with sponsors already signed up for next year as a result" (SMH, 1/21).

A-LEAGUE: In Sydney, Pierik & Lynch reported while A-League TV ratings "have risen from last season, a leading media strategist claims there are 'worrying dynamics' in recent weeks, with the numbers of viewers slipping." According to independent media communication agency Fusion Strategy, the A-League "averaged a modest 61,000 viewers last weekend, the second lowest this season and behind only week 10 of competition." Friday night's feature clash, albeit between struggling clubs Melbourne Heart and Newcastle Jets, "attracted only a combined 110,000 viewers on host broadcasters Fox Sports and SBS2, the lowest this season since SBS2 began broadcasting." Concerns about the A-League "have emerged as the Ten Network enjoys average ratings of about 800,000" for its A$100M ($88M) investment in cricket's Twenty20 Big Bash League, while Seven's tennis coverage "continues to also pull strong figures." But Fox Sports said that since Dec. 20 when the BBL began, its A-League ratings "are down only one per cent on last season, and have held up well" (SMH, 1/22).
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