- Tennis Australia (TA) had hoped to cash in on the ratings bonanza that was the 2022 Australian Open but Ash Barty retired
- TA had a five-year contract with Channel 9 worth $60 million for the Australian Open broadcast rights
- With the most-watched Australian Open women’s final since 1999, Barty’s triumph over Danielle Collins was a huge success for Channel 9
The surprise retirement of Ash Barty in March has put Tennis Australia (TA) in an awkward position as they begin discussions on a new TV deal.
In spite of having a five-year contract with Channel 9 worth $60 million for the Australian Open broadcast rights, TA had hoped to cash in on the rating bonanza that was the 2022 Australian Open.
Since 1978, no Australian woman has ever won the season-opening Grand Slam since Barty.
With the most-watched Australian Open women’s final since 1999, Barty’s triumph over Danielle Collins was a huge success for Channel 9.
An additional triumph was achieved by Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in the men’s doubles final, which also drew a large audience thanks to their daring run to victory.
The Australian reported shortly after the conclusion of the tournament that TA hoped their next arrangement may command as much as $100 million per year over five years.
Channel 9 and Seven had been tussling for the rights to broadcast the Australian Open since the latter made their intentions apparent in February.
HOW DOES ASHLEIGH BARTY’S RETIREMENT AFFECT TENNIS AUSTRALIA?
Negotiations between Seven and TA may have been interesting, but the departure of Barty from their tennis rights contract has significantly damaged TA’s position.
There’s no way for TA to capitalise on Barty’s global appeal now that she’s gone, with Kyrgios still unpredictable and few genuine stars Australian tennis prospects in the future.
Tennis’ broadcast value in Australia is in jeopardy because of the waning popularity of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Rafael Nadal, as well as the mixed popularity of Novak Djokovic.
WHAT IS ASH BARTY SAYING ABOUT ALL THIS?
In the midst of tennis broadcast speculation, Barty is enjoying her retirement.
Tennis has gone on without Barty, but the three-time Grand Slam champion has accepted retirement like a duck to water.
His visit at Bells Beach on Tuesday to witness the Rip Curl Pro surfing tournament was a surprise.
Steph Gilmore and Mick Fanning see the 25-year-old as a close friend, and she recently showed up to support. Before they hit the waves at Victoria’s most famous beach – Bells Beach – Barty could be seen joking around with the sport’s greatest names.
Even after her shocking retirement announcement, seven-time world champion Gilmore claimed he was surprised to see her at the beach.
He says it is great heading out to watch other sports after retirement.
Even though Barty admits she doesn’t know much about surfing, she came out to show support for her friends nonetheless.
WHY DID ASH BARTY RETIRE?
Ash Barty announced her retirement on Wednesday from professional tennis after starting her 2022 season by winning the Australian Open.
Barty called in time at only 25 years. She retires having won the French Open in 2019 and is the reigning Australian Open, and Wimbledon champion.
She has three Grand Slams on her tennis success story. Barty says that she is leaving to pursue other interests in life.
Barty says she did not know how to do it but was time to come. Here is her statement.
“The time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down.
I wasn’t quite sure of how I was gonna do this. It’s hard to say. I am so happy and I’m so ready. I just know at the moment in my heart for me as a person this is right.
I kind of wasn’t sure how I was going to do this. But I think so many times in my life, both my professional and personal, you’ve been there for me. I just couldn’t think there’s no right way, there’s no wrong way, it’s just my way.
This is perfect for me to share it with you, to talk to you about it with my team, the loved ones that I will be retiring from tennis. That’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud. It’s hard to say, but I’m so happy and I’m so ready and I just know at the moment in my heart for me as a person, this is right.”