HomeBroadcastSeven CEO Sets Sights On Australian Open Rights, Willing To Drop Cricket

Seven CEO Sets Sights On Australian Open Rights, Willing To Drop Cricket

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Seven CEO Sets Sights On Australian Open Rights, Willing To Drop Cricket

With Tennis Australia set to enter a formal rights negotiation process later this year for the Australian Open broadcast rights beyond 2024, Seven West Media CEO, James Warburton, has outlined the Australian broadcast giant’s goals to return to tennis.

The rights to the Australian Open are currently held by Nine, who signed a $60 million per year deal to broadcast the Australian Open until 2024, at the time ending a 40-year partnership between Seven and Tennis Australia.

Following this, Seven turned to cricket, signing an extensive multi-year partnership with Cricket Australia which has been surrounded with controversary due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Seven claiming Cricket Australia has not delivered on its contract, leading to a complicated legal battle.

Discussing the hopes to regain Australian Open broadcast rights, Warburton told The Sydney Morning Herald Seven would not broadcast both tennis and cricket at the same time, suggesting they are ready and willing to sacrifice Cricket Australia broadcast rights to return to tennis.

“Absolutely [we will pursue the tennis],” Warburton said.

“We had the tennis for decades.

“It’s no secret that we’re extremely pleased with Test match cricket… but Cricket Australia haven’t delivered on their contract with the Big Bash [League].

“We’ve got a much better relationship these days… but they have to make fundamental changes to the Big Bash League.

“They’re finally making the right noises,” he said.

Warburton also commented on the network’s broadcast rights for the Olympic Games, saying: “The halo effect [from the Olympics] is really small.”

“Post Tokyo, the normality of things snapped back almost immediately in terms of core programming.

“I feel we do a better job than anyone else in terms of the way that the network promotes it and tells the stories, but it comes at a cost, and it’s a pretty big cost,” Warburton said.

Confirming the continued interest in broadcasting the Olympics, Warburton said the network will actively pursue future tenders for the Olympic Games but will take a disciplined approach for spending.

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