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Three days ago Nine launched Stan Sport as part of their rugby union acquisition.
It is a revolutionary occasion to have more free rugby access than ever before.
We have not yet to see Super Rugby games live over the last 25 years.
But this stranglehold will finally end in February 2021.
It will be the Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Round 1 on Friday night at 7.30 pm will be Live on Channel 9 & Stan.
Then Nine will be there every Saturday night LIVE for the other rounds & all finals.
And they will regain the Wallabies Test rights plus some Club Rugby.
Now it did not take that long for Nine/Stan to grab more Tennis balls.
We know the Australian Open they acquired in March 2018 turned very well.
Even though I may not like this initially because I am biased as a cricket fan.
We salute to CEO Hugh Marks on taking a different approach.
It will only benefit this business in the long run due to the exclusivity they show.
Nine will get to connect two other Grand Slam tennis tournaments from 2021.
The French Open in Roland Garros is one of them. It will be awesome to see these players play on the clay surface.
And the main venue there at last gets a retractable roof. I know there should be some games played at night.
But I think the finals will always remain traditional in the day time.
This year’s event was held two months ago rather than May. It is because organisers forced to cancel it due to the ongoing pandemic.
Next years running here in Roland Garros will revert to the May schedule.
Nine will go back there since the early 2010s as highlights shows. And I am sure they used to cover it live in the 80-90s when Pay TV wasn’t born yet.
Nine will then head back to England for the Wimbledon in June-July. And it is the event they used to cover very well for 40 years from 1970-2010.
It is interesting to see that they have two main courts that have a covered roof.
The centre court got renovated 11 years ago. So Nine did go there for two editions before they handed over to Channel 7.
And now they snatched these rights again off Seven for the second time.
The 2020 edition did not commence at all and cancelled it also due to Covid. It is the first time that Wimbledon did not take place since World War II.
There will be less matches being cancelled due to rain. Just look at the next No.1 court that got a facelift last year.
The additional Tennis coverage they got today will come as exclusive.
But it does not mean that every match will be free on Nine/9GEM/9Go.
Like Rugby, most of the games will be on Stan Sport streaming service. Both Live and on-demand replays/highlights.
It will only come as a add-on to the standard $10 a month subscription. Price will be revealed at a later date.
We may be sports only nuts after all & I would personally dispute this topic.
But it is part and parcel of their business model. So Nine would want to make this purchase profitable in return.
Then the main event features will simulcast on Channel 9.
So we do not have to miss on whichever viewing option we want.
It is a marvellous statement to put Nine as the home of Grand Slam Tennis.
They first have the Tennis Australia package with the whole lot.
It ranges from the Australia Open to Davis Cup & Fed Cup.
Now it will extend to the French Open and Wimbledon for the next three years.
I would like Nine to complete the icing of the cake with the US Open.
But those rights are held by ESPN right now until at least the end of 2021.
Nine did share with Bein Sports in the past with the international Davis Cup games.
Why not Nine deal with ESPN & take over the free to air portion from SBS?
So Nine air the big event matches on the road towards the Final.
They can wait until 2022 to get the whole lot of US Open from ESPN. That way, it makes this complete content 100% valuable.
I will have to wait and see as well if Nine would air the Kooyong Classic And put some of the less important Australian Open games via Stan.
It will be tempting to mix the content between a paid & free platform.
But I think it is something Nine would think about before January. It may be doable to reduce these losses on a prestigious tournament here in Melbourne.