Tennis Australia and ESPN are set to extend and expand a partnership that began in 1984, today announcing a new broadcast deal that will see the Australian Open broadcast in the United States and Canada through to 2031.
“ESPN has been an outstanding partner of the Australian Open for nearly 40 years and I’m delighted extend and expand our collaboration,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“As one of our most longstanding broadcasters, ESPN has a reputation for innovation and great storytelling, both of which form part of the Australian Open DNA.
“Together we look forward to connecting with an even wider fan base in the United States and Canada and attracting new audiences across multiple platforms. As well as comprehensive coverage of the compelling on-court action, we will work together to also showcase the human stories, the personalities of the players and their teams, their preparation for competition on the Grand Slam stage and their journey to greatness.”
The agreement includes comprehensive Australian Open coverage on multiple platforms and brands including:
- Linear and digital rights to the AO and AO lead in events
- More than 100 hours, including prime time matches, semifinals and finals on ESPN linear sports channels
- Live stream and on demand matches from all 16 match courts at Melbourne Park
- AO Qualifying, the AO Junior Championships and AO Wheelchair Championships coverage on ESPN+ platform
- Weekly Highlights on ABC and extensive additional online reporting across ESPN and Disney digital platforms
- ESPN Deportes will continue to provide coverage in Spanish in the US; distribution in Canada will be on TSN and RDS taking the AO to an even bigger and broader audience.
There will also be a dedicated AO section on ESPN+ showing classic matches, highlight shows and press conferences.
In an historic first, ESPN will also collaborate with Tennis Australia to develop new AO original programs, taking fans beyond the court into the off court AO pillars of food, kids and families and music, with a lifestyle and entertainment content inspired by the AO featuring across the Disney platforms.
“We are proud of our nearly four-decade relationship with Tennis Australia and are thrilled to continue our exclusive coverage of one of the sport’s most important events that has provided so many memorable moments on our networks,” Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content Jimmy Pitaro said.
“With the capacity and quality of ESPN+, we can bring fans downunder for every match, from qualifying through the championship of each division.”
The Australian Open continues to be a hot broadcast property, and in recent years has consistently achieved the largest global viewership – outside its home nation – of all the Grand Slams, with US and Canada constantly in the top 3 overseas market representing nearly a 15 per cent of that audience.
The Australian Open men’s final was up 56 per cent from the previous year and the most-viewed since 2017 in the US, while AO 2022 was the most watched edition of the event in Canada since 2014.