Australia Open Focusing On China And Japan

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Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Australian Open Tennis News

As the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific, Australian Open is enhancing its TV production capabilities in order to provide tailored broadcasts for international broadcasters, especially in Asia.

The tournament has also set up a Hong Kong office and signed Na Li and Kei Nishikori as brand ambassadors to further increase its Asian presence.

“We’re basically focusing on two core markets for Asian growth, China and Japan,” said Richard Heaselgrave, Tennis Australia commercial director, in an interview with Xinhua.

“Our greater China office will have a media rights group that will be responsible for getting to know all the broadcasters in the Asia-Pacific region, develop relationships and create content for them.”

The Australian Open experienced 47 percent viewership growth in Asia a year ago, and wants to keep broadcaster and viewer attention by showing them matches and players they are most interested in — not just the Australian players on the show courts. In order to do this, it is producing its own broadcast and televising all courts.

“If we can control all the cameras of our own event and make sure every match is televised, we can now talk to broadcasters overseas about creating a TV show – from the Australian Open – that is relevant to them,” he said. “But if you use China. . . since Li Na’s retirement, it doesn’t necessarily have a player who is going to be on Rod Laver Arena every match.

“But the Chinese networks are going to want to follow the Chinese players, and Peng Shuai might be playing on court 6 or 8. It sounds obvious to produce all of your tennis matches from every single court, but we’re the first Grand Slam to ever do that.”

It has an agreement with Shanghai for joint promotion of the two tournaments, and has also signed up two leading names in the region to generate publicity.

“Nishikori has led to an enormous explosion of viewing in Japan. He is arguably one of Japan’s top 3 athletes from any sport,” he said. “In China, Li obviously helped, and we signed a long-term relationship with both her and Nishikori to be our brand ambassadors.”

With domestic and European broadcast deals said to be around $35 million a year, the tournament is looking for similar agreements with Japan and other Asian regions to increase its bottom line.

Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.