Tennis Australia is facing a major financial squeeze as dithering and negotiating over the exact date of the 2021 COVID edition of the Open drag on.
Reports also indicate that the ATP is now slowing down the process for a major theoretically due to start in just over a month:
The men’s sanctioning body will reportedly not be able to progress further in the long-running scheduling drama until after an all-hands video chat in the coming days with players and coaches.
In Melbourne, TA must now deal with a proposed contractual modification for TV rightsholder Nine Network if the major is delayed three weeks until February 8 as is being mentioned.
The Age newspaper reported this week that the broadcaster – which uses the Aussie tennis summer as a marketing vehicle to spruik upcoming network shows like Married at First Sight – is demanding a rebate of pricey rights payments due to the date change which takes the Open out of the key summer school holiday period.
The paper quoted sources as pegging the rights contract value at AUD 300 million (USD 225 million); the Aussie summer also normally includes at least two weeks of run-up events spread throughout the country.
On the other side of the ledger sheet, TA is said to be on the prowl for a rent reduction for its occupancy of the Melbourne Park venue smack in the city’s upscale riverside sporting precinct.
The Age said that the organisation is keen for a discount from landlord the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust.
The body has has already granted rent relief to other tenants including AFL clubs Collingwood and Melbourne, NRL rugby side Melbourne Storm and A-League football club Melbourne Victory this virus-affected year.
Tennis Australia is reportedly on track for State financial relief due to pandemic losses. The organisation has said that quarantine costs for the tournament will run AUD 40 million (USD 30 million).