Seven Extends Deal With Australian Open For Five Years; Ten Calls Deal 'Scandalous'
Seven West Media "has secured broadcast rights to the Australian Open tennis for a further five years," according to Michael Bodey of THE AUSTRALIAN. The deal, worth A$40M ($38.1M) a year, finalizes "a heady 18 months of renegotiations of sports broadcast deals." But the final piece in the puzzle was labeled "scandalous" by Network Ten. Tennis Australia and Seven "are yet to confirm the deal and it is not known whether it includes digital or pay-TV rights although Seven has not yet approached Fox Sports to on-sell rights." Ten said it would be "scandalous if Tennis Australia sold its television rights without conducting an open tender." The deal "is a significant price rise" from the previous A$21M per year deal but sources suggest Ten would have "absolutely" pushed the price closer to A$50M annually while another sports management group, believed to be Wimbledon broadcaster IMG, informally offered A$40M per year. A Ten spokesperson said, "Victorian taxpayers have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into facilities used by Tennis Australia. Taxpayers have the right to expect Tennis Australia to conduct an open, transparent negotiation process, particularly given the record prices the AFL (Australian Football League), NRL (National Rugby League) and Cricket Australia have secured for their television rights recently" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/13).