This year the Seven Network and Premier Media Group’s Fox Sports could not reach an agreement to share the broadcast rights for the Australian Open tennis.
However in good news for tennis fans, Seven today announced that it has signed a deal which will see Seven and Fox Sports share coverage of the Australian Open from next year’s tournament until 2014.
Under the agreement Seven will have exclusive access to matches on Rod Laver Arena, as well as live and delayed rights on all Courts. Meanwhile Fox Sports will have live access to all matches played on courts other than Rod Laver Arena.
Fox Sports will once again therefore be the ultimate tennis destination for fans with coverage of all four Grand Slams and the Barclays ATP Tour Final (broadcasting now). This agreement is a similar to the agreement both broadcasters had in 2008.
This agreement confirms the importance of the Anti-siphoning list and that the list does not prevent commercial deals from being made.
Seven is the primary broadcaster and rights holder of the Australian Open, therefore providing coverage of premium matches on its main channel. On the other hand Fox Sports is prevented from directly bidding for broadcast rights from Tennis Australia because the Australian Open is a listed Anti-Siphoning event, meaning Fox Sports has to purchase their broadcast rights from Seven as the broadcast rights holder. Seven and Fox Sports therefore have reached an agreement today where Fox Sports can act as a secondary broadcaster, providing extended coverage, in much the same way SBS did during Seven’s 2008 Beijing Olympic Broadcast. This demonstrates that the Anti-siphoning list is still relevant as it continues to ensure major events of national importance remain on FTA whilst complementary coverage is available on pay-TV (best of both world for viewers). In this instance Fox Sport has got top quality product despite the continued operation of the Anti-siphoning list.
This agreement is a win for tennis fans and is an interesting prelude to any changes that might be announced in respect the Anti-siphoning laws currently in its final stages of review before Federal Cabinet.
The Seven Press Release is available here