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FREE | Tennis Data Report, 2019

In the latest interactive monthly data report, SportBusiness Media analyses the tennis media-rights landscape in 2019.

Further detail on the deals covered in this interactive data report is available with our Rights Tracker tool – click here for more information.

Discovery, Amazon boost ATP, WTA rights

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which operate the men’s and women’s World Tours respectively, saw a boost to rights income in 2019 as US media group Discovery and tech giant Amazon moved to make inroads into various territories.

The two companies’ pursuit of ATP Tour rights in Europe buoyed the competitive environment. Pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland had to fight off strong competition from both to renew ATP rights in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).

ATP Media, the commercial arm of the tour, agreed a new deal in DACH with Sky for four years, from 2020 to 2023. Competition between bidders led to a significant increase on the value of Sky’s current three-year deal, from 2017 to 2019.

Discovery managed to acquire ATP rights in the Nordics, France and Russia later in 2019. The company has shifted its focus to sports like tennis, golf and cycling in the last couple of years where it aims to develop longer-term partnerships with rights-holders.

Meanwhile, Amazon strengthened its tennis portfolio in the UK with the acquisition of the WTA Tour last month, joining their existing ATP World Tour and US Open rights.

Amazon acquired the rights in a four-year deal running from 2020 to 2023. The outlay is significantly above the amount BT Sport is understood to have paid in the 2017 to 2019 cycle.

The tech giant bought its rights from WTA Media, the joint venture between the WTA and digital sports media company DAZN Group (formerly Perform).

Amazon also unsuccessfully attempted last year to secure Wimbledon rights in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Tennis is considered a good play for Amazon, given the sport’s relatively affluent audience and the cross-selling opportunities this provides to the retailer’s Prime service.

Nine steals the show

Another significant development in the tennis media-rights landscape in 2019 was the change in domestic broadcaster of the Australian Open.

Commercial broadcaster Nine secured domestic Australian Open rights last year in a five-year deal, from 2020 to 2024. The deal includes rights to the Australian Open, the Australian Open Series of events leading up to the tournament, the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup.

Ahead of the new cycle, the 2019 Australian Open was also broadcast by Nine after it sublicensed rights from rival commercial broadcaster Seven Network for about A48.5m. Seven has held rights since 1973.

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Greek club PAOK will continue to broadcast home matches on its PAOK TV OTT platform despite the service generating 25 per cent less revenue than pay-television broadcaster Nova’s offer for the team’s rights.

Speaking at the FANXP conference in Barcelona in February, leading executives from disruptive companies came together to speak about ‘the fan of the future’, and how DAZN, Eleven and Twitter are pushing the boundaries and meeting fan demand.

The European Broadcasting Union paid a slight fee increase to renew its global rights to European Union of Gymnastics (UEG) events for the 2021-24 cycle.