The Australian Open has been a residing nightmare for Channel 9 with damning figures highlighting simply how bleak issues actually are.
9 splashed $500 million to increase their Australian Open deal till 2030, however viewership has fallen off a cliff in 2023.
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The hits for the Australian Open got here in thick and quick earlier than the primary serve was even despatched throughout the web.
Aussie golden woman Ash Barty hung up the racquet not lengthy after her Grand Slam victory. That hit alone would have left community executives reeling.
However then got here the lack of world primary Carlos Alcaraz, the supremely gifted 19-year-old who took the world by storm final 12 months.
Arguably the largest hit to the Open nonetheless got here on the opening day when Nick Kyrgios introduced his withdrawal.
The 27-year-old is the largest field workplace drawcard on the face of the planet for tennis and his departure spelt catastrophe for the community and the event.
After a horrid opening evening which noticed the figures fall behind Channel 7’s Residence And Away, issues didn’t get any higher for the community all through the event.
Throughout Saturday evening’s ladies’s singles remaining and the boys’s doubles remaining, the scores peaked at 1.437 million viewers.
Whereas these figures are good, they don’t even come near final 12 months’s ladies’s singles remaining and males’s doubles remaining which peaked at 4.261 million viewers.
Information tumbled through the 2022 version of the Australian Open as 9 reached a nationwide viewers of 12.5 million viewers throughout two channels.
One 12 months later and the numbers are coming in three to 4 million down on what unfolded throughout a surprising event final 12 months.
With the hits piling up the figures had been by no means going to repeat final 12 months’s record-breaking event, however the extreme drop could be a serious case of concern after a $500m gamble.
Media analyst Steve Allen informed the Herald Solar the scores bomb could be inflicting sleepless nights for 9 executives.
“There are such a lot of of the worldwide seeded gamers who do have star energy not showing right here so it was at all times going to be decrease scores. Even so the scores are a bit decrease than I’d have anticipated. It‘s dramatically down, 30 or 40 per cent down,” he stated.
A contributing issue to the damning drop off will be related to 9 pushing their chips to the centre of the desk on Novak Djokovic.
Regardless of Djokovic being arguably the best participant of all time, in terms of scores he doesn’t ship like he does on the courtroom.
“We all know Djokovic actually isn‘t a scores drawcard in my thoughts so the actual fact of him being a part of it this 12 months, I feel doesn’t make any distinction,” TV professional Colin Vickery stated to the Herald Solar.
“The world of tennis is missing TV scores drawcards in the intervening time, it’s in a transition section. The drawcards who’re dependable like Ash Barty, (Roger) Federer, they’ve gone and there are only a few coming by means of proper at this second.”
These remarks from Vickery echo the dire warning Kyrgios said throughout his Australian Open doubles run final 12 months.
The 27-year-old was requested the place he’d prefer to see the game in five-to-ten years and he painted a bleak image of what was to return.
“I simply assume that tennis has completed a very poor job with accepting personalities previously,” he stated.
“I feel they’ve sort of actually solely marketed three gamers for the final decade and now it’s sort of caught up with them, so therefore they’ve tried to push a few of the Subsequent Gen guys … tennis has actually struggled to embrace totally different personalities, like when folks go about it in another way.
“Like one thing about Thanasi once I watch him play singles it glues me to the TV, whether or not he’s shedding or whether or not he’s successful, it’s simply the best way he goes about it.
“I feel tennis must embrace that extra.”
Channel 9 ought to have listened to the recommendation of the Canberra born famous person.