After announcing it had secured the rights to the Australian Open tennis for $300m last week, Nine has revealed it it still wants the cricket!
The tennis deal was negotiated by Nine CEO Hugh Marks, Tom Malone, director of sport, Alexi Baker, director of strategy and corporate development, Rachel Launders, general counsel, and Sam Brennan, director of sales, Melbourne.
In a note to Nine staff after the tennis win, Tom Malone said the result was also a win for Wide World of Sports, and complements “Best Seat in the House” strategy alongside NRL, State of Origin, Netball and The Masters.
Malone added: “It does not mean we won’t continue to pursue cricket. We are still in a good position on cricket, and we still have a desire to secure rights to cricket at the right price and terms. As Hugh has said all along, we won’t be paying more money for sports rights, but we can afford to pay money for sports rights if it’s on terms that enable us to distribute and commercialise the content across all platforms.
“We also still have rights to the upcoming premium cricket events – 2019 ODI World Cup in England and both T20 World Cups in Australia in 2020, and we are the exclusive rights holder to the 2019 Ashes in England, which will mark the first time Steve Smith and David Warner will be eligible to play Test cricket again.”
Seven released this statement after losing the tennis rights:
“We have an incredibly long and proud history with Australian tennis. We have delivered so many milestones to grow the game.
“Seven was the first to deliver the game on multichannels, the first to live stream and the first to deliver every single match across the screens of Seven to every Australian, along with consistently innovating the broadcast on the way.
“Our strategy of delivering value for our shareholders and engagement for our clients remains firm. We build brands and we create success for our partners, and will continue to do so.
“But we have been consistent and steady in what we have said about the economics of sports rights – the deal has to make commercial sense or we will step away.”
“We wish Nine and everyone at Tennis Australia good luck.”
Photo: Nine’s CEO Hugh Marks with Tennis Australia president and chair Jayne Hrdlicka