Ash Barty May Inadvertently Cost Tennis Australia.
The 25-year-old stunned the world with her retirement announcement last month just weeks after she became the first Aussie to win the Australian Open since 1978.
Fans were devastated when they heard the news.
It turns out Tennis Australia were even more shattered.
Reports in February claim that Tennis Australia is looking for an unprecedented TV rights deal worth over $ 500 million over five years in the Aussie Summer of Tennis – the back of Barty’s wild popularity.
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Channel 9 enjoyed a ratings bonanza this summer with Barty’s title supported by Rafael Nadal’s men’s singles title and Nick Kyrgios teaming up with Thanasi Kokkinakis to win the men’s doubles.
The former world number Danielle Collins was one of the most prominent women’s finalists since 1999 with a record peak audience of 4.2 million.
Tennis Australia (TA) was preparing to jack up its broadcast rights at the time of its release.
TA had Channel 7 deals with upper-hand negotiations recently and publicly declaring that the Australian Open rights back to its bombshell move to steal the cricket rights from Channel 9 in 2018.
The two sports sit heading into their next broadcast rights negotiations. Both sports have their current TV rights agreements on the run for two more years – but the wheeling and having already begun.
The Daily Telegraph Nine May may have been tempted by Barty’s bombshell retirement from the first reported Seven’s interest in winning back tennis.
BARTY’S “game-changing” retirement has seen more sporting appearances and comparisons in terms of championships and ownership of additional parties.
This is a development CA desperately needed.
Cricket’s national governing body and Channel 7 have fallen out in recent years.
Seven signed a $ 450 million deal in 2018, but demanded a significant cut in its annual rights fees as a result of the pandemic.
Cricket Australia chose.
Seven CEO James Warburton called CA “the most incompetent administration I’ve ever worked with”.
Seven’s $ 450m deal was part of a record $ 1.2 billion cricket rights deal that saw Foxtel and Kayo pay around $ 670 million.
The Australian Open rights are currently worth $ 60m annually ($ 300m across five years), but The Australian Reported in February, it is likely that the figure will rise by 2025.
The report detailed TA even looking to kick off negotiations early in the broadcast cycle because of how hot the product was on the 2022 ratings success.
Barty has been hungry since her case this year, at age 25 of her racquet.
Cricket, meanwhile, is heading into a desperate situation in the next round of broadcast talks – highlighted by a ratings malaise in the Big Bash League.
The current deal with Seven and Foxtel (worth a staggering $ 1.2 billion) blew the previous rights deal by Nine and Network 10 (worth $ 590 million over five years) out of the water.
BBL’s struggles on the back of a reality check for now.
The Daily Telegraph reported in February that BBL games have lost an average of 450,000 TV viewers per game compared to an average of 1.1 million viewers-per-game when the BBL was broadcast in 2016.