By James Manning
‘I want a happy ending for the contestants, but I can’t make any promises’
The executive producers of The Block have done an impressive job steering Nine’s #1 franchise through a year that was impacted by Covid-19. They have one final challenge though as the auctions being held this weekend will be impacted by State Government restrictions on crowds.
When Mediaweek spoke to co-executive producer Julian Cress (pictured above) on Monday, he was onsite at Brighton testing some equipment for next weekend’s auctions of the five properties from season 16.
“We have been really lucky,” Cress told Mediaweek, referring to how the season managed to navigate Covid-19 lockdowns.
“We managed to finish the renovations before the Stage 4 restrictions returned to Victoria. We were able to complete the show and get it to air on the original schedule which was remarkable in itself.
“We were also lucky that property inspection restrictions were eased on the day that the campaigns began to sell the properties. That was because of the hard work of 6.5m people in Victoria.
“We now face restrictions for the auctions which is fine. It will be a little tricky because we are only allowed to have 10 people plus the agent at an auction. Sadly, three of those people have to be camera operators which cuts it down to seven. Unfortunately, those auction restrictions ease up on Monday, but we have to complete the auction this weekend.
“We will also have to be outdoors and we can have up to seven bidders at each of the auctions.”
To let more people take part in bidding, The Block has teamed with one of its commercial partners, Spirit Internet, to secure a 200mbps microwave internet link to set up a Zoom channel for bidders who can’t attend the sales.
As to the level of interest in the properties, Cress said: “It has been relatively strong, but regardless I always feel like I am staring down the barrel of a gun at this point in every series. Clearance rates have recently been close to 60% which indicates three of our five properties. I am always hopeful we will sell 100% and we often do, but it is hard to know.”
The fact that anything can happen at an auction is one of the reasons people stick with the series until the very end, said Cress. “It is all up to the buyers to turn up and bid, we are not in charge of anything that happens that day. The show is exciting to watch because nobody knows what will happen.
“That’s also what keeps me up at night because while the show has been a success with great ratings this year, I want a really happy ending for the contestants. They have put in an inordinate amount of work this series through the most difficult circumstances any contestants have ever faced.
“They deserve to be well rewarded for that work, but I can’t make any promises.”
Properties haven’t always sold at auction, with one of the Elsternwick properties in 2017 being passed in, although it sold soon after.
The year that most people remember for being disappointing was 2014 in Prahran. “We called that the Glasshouse which was probably one of our worst results. A property passing in is kind of OK because we can still sell it and later and give the contestant a profit. The worst situation is when a property sells at the reserve price, or just above it. It can be heartbreaking to see a contestant walk away with $10,000 after three month’s work.” Two couples walked away with $10,000 on that season, another couple got $40,000.
Cress noted everyone enters knowing they are not guaranteed life changing money and that just one will win at least $100,000. “We pray that they will and they certainly deserve it.”
On the penultimate episode of the season on Sunday, judge Darren Palmer reckoned this was the best season ever. Does Cress agree?
“The feedback we have had the agents and buyers is that in terms of quality, these houses are second to none. It is remarkable they were able to execute to the standard they did given the challenges across the season.”
The Block in 2021
Regarding next year, Cress said it is difficult to bring the schedule forward in case there are more pandemic impacts. “Victoria has done such a great job getting through this and I’d be very surprised if we saw a resurgence that put us back in a Stage 4 situation again.
“We are proceeding on the basis that we will be in a Covid normal state when we start in February. We certainly learnt a lot of lessons this year and we will be able to pivot if we have to.”
The casting of season 17 is currently underway with the casting team only now able to travel interstate to meet with potential contestants. Cress said he won’t know who is on the next season until January 2021.
PodcastOne Australia is next week launching a new daily news podcast, Your Morning Agenda with Natarsha Belling.
The daily news podcast will deliver the top breaking news stories every morning covering national and international, news and sport with a clear focus on business and finance, through SCA’s PodcastOne Australia.
Led by one of Australia’s best-known journalists, Belling comes with more than 25 years’ experience. For more than 22 years, she was one of Network 10’s key national journalists and news presenters, appearing across all the network’s news services including the morning, evening, weekend and late-night news bulletins. Belling also appeared on many current affairs programs including The Project.
Belling has interviewed some of the world’s most successful leaders and business entrepreneurs including, Sir Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Dame Quentin Bryce and Julie Bishop.
Your Morning Agenda with Natarsha Belling extends SCA’s news podcast product suite and its commitment to deliver the most up to date news and current affairs for listeners. It complements PodcastOne Australia’s The Briefing with Tom Tilley, Annika Smethurst, Jan Fran and Jamila Rizvi, which continues to record growth since its launch in April 2020.
Belling said; “I’m thrilled to be joining SCA at a time when more than ever news matters. It’s been really exciting working with an incredibly talented team at SCA over the past few months creating Your Morning Agenda from scratch. We’ll cover all the breaking news from around Australia and the world, with expert analysis on business and finance. It’s news on the go at your convenience, that’s informative and engaging. It’s all you need to know to start your day!”
SCA chief content officer Dave Cameron said: “SCA’s PodcastOne Australia continues to be Australia’s biggest original premium content creator by expanding our daily news-on-demand output at a time where there continues to be an insatiable thirst for news consumption. We’re excited to welcome a news journalist and presenter of the highest pedigree in Natarsha Belling to deliver another SCA premium news podcast, Your Morning Agenda, first thing each morning.”
Your Morning Agenda with Natarsha Belling will be available on PodcastOne Australia or wherever you get your podcasts from Monday, 23 November 2020.
Are Media has announced the creation of a specialist customer division. The new team will bring customers to the forefront of the business, with the focus on stronger engagement with retail partners, developing subscription channels and broadened consumer marketing strategy.
Sally Eagle, most recently general manager of the food category, has been promoted to customer director and will lead the new team.
Are Media is expected to distribute almost 80 million magazines in 2021 and the new customer team has been tasked with growing direct-to-consumer channels including Magshop, as well as forging closer relationships with supermarkets and newsagents across the country.
Following the announcement at Are Media’s Showcase that investment in marketing is set to be tripled next year, the new customer division will also oversee retail, subscription and consumer marketing which are being brought together in a more aligned approach.
Eagle, who joined Are Media in 2010 and has held a number of senior roles across the business, said: “Our customers, both subscribers and those who buy our magazines in retail stores, are critical to the ongoing success of Are Media. So it is important we continue to evolve and drive our portfolio of brands across the retail environment by engaging with retailers effectively and ensuring an end-to-end strategic marketing approach.”
Brendon Hill, CEO of Are Media, added: “While we have strong relationships with our retail partners, more can always be done to understand their priorities and identify new opportunities that will benefit us both. By creating a dedicated team to focus on our customers we are signaling this as a priority area for the business.
“Sally has continually shown an ability to build and grow successful brands and I’m delighted she will be leading the team to manage this important work.”
Eagle’s previous responsibilities will now be re-aligned under executive general manager, publishing and digital, Sarah-Belle Murphy.
After four years at the station, Sally & Erica are to depart triple j breakfast to pursue other opportunities. Sounds like they might be staying within the public broadcaster, could they be headed to commercial media?
Sally & Erica began hosting overnight shifts on triple j in 2017. It wasn’t long before they earned a spot hosting Weekend Arvos in 2018, while also doing fill-in shifts on triple j Drive, Good Nights, the Hip Hop Show and Summer Arvos. They quickly rose through the ranks to take over triple j breakfast earlier this year. The audience warmed to their authenticity, sharing hilarious stories while also working through challenging issues affecting young people.
In a year that COVID-19 physically disconnected many people around Australia, young people have sought that personal connection more than ever. Throughout this time, Sally & Erica have been a much-needed touchpoint to the rest of the world, through music, culture, empathy and a lot of laughs.
Over the last year, Sally & Erica highlights included a rap-medley honouring the hottest female-led songs of the decade for International Women’s Day, went viral on TikTok to a famous Scomo speech, got deep with Kevin Parker when Tame Impala placed #1 in the Hottest 100 of the Decade and spruced up disgusting cars with a triple j air freshener.
Sally said of her time at triple j: “I’m so incredibly grateful to have spent the last four years as part of Australia’s biggest family of music lovers. It’s been a wild ride – from a one-off guest slot with Matt & Alex to taking the reins of breakfast ourselves. I’ve had so many pinch-myself moments, but the most amazing part of my time at triple j has been the audience. triple j listeners never fail to make me cackle, warm my heart and inspire me. I’ve loved waking up with you every morning – thank you for everything. I can’t wait to show you what’s next!”
Erica added: “The weird thing about listening to triple j is that it makes you feel like you have tens of thousands of friends. That’s exactly how I’ve felt for the last four years, being lucky enough to hear from you. Whether it’s just a song request on the text line, a call in to say hey, a story about your weekend or a dumb thing you did as a kid, I’ve loved every minute of the crazy, passionate energy that comes from the triple j audience. Thank you for everything. It’s time for me to hang up the headphones for now and focus on other things (a little later in the day than 6am). I’ll catch you very soon.”
As Sally & Erica move on to pursue other projects they leave with triple j’s best wishes.
Hosting triple j breakfast for the remainder of this year will be Bryce Mills, who has been presenting Weekend Arvos since the start of 2020.
There has been no announcement yet as to who will present triple j breakfast in 2021.
News Corp’s British radio division Wireless has announced its latest high profile signing: Graham Norton will join Virgin Radio UK to host a flagship weekend show – on Saturdays and Sundays.
The much-loved broadcaster last week announced he was stepping down after a decade at BBC Radio 2. His new weekend shows on Virgin Radio will launch in the new year.
Norton is the second of Radio 2 biggest stars to jump ship to Virgin Radio. At the start of 2019 former Radio 2 breakfast host Chris Evans moved to the DAB and streaming radio station.
Regular listeners to Evan’s Virgin Radio show had been tipped off by the host some time ago that there was a major move in the works.
Helping secure the new signing is former Nova Entertainment Melbourne and Perth content director Mike Cass who is content director at the four Virgin-branded radio stations at Wireless.
Graham said: “I am excited and a little surprised to be joining Virgin Radio UK in 2021. I was very content where I was but the opportunity to host shows across the weekend seemed too good to miss out on. Plus the energy and enthusiasm at Virgin Radio are infectious and I can’t wait to get started! Did I mention the studios are very close to my house?”
Virgin Radio UK content director Mike Cass added: “Graham Norton is one of very few truly unique talents in broadcasting. I’m delighted to be welcoming him to the Virgin Radio family in the new year. He’ll be bringing double the wit, double the banter and double the love across Saturday and Sunday.”
Wireless CEO Scott Taunton added: “Wireless continues to invest in the very best talent as we drive forward the ambitious plans we have for our national digital stations in the UK. Graham is a broadcasting icon and it’s not hard to see why he has the highest-rated single radio show in Europe. Tuning in to Graham Norton on Virgin Radio will be the hottest new year’s resolution around.”
Graham has picked up almost every TV award going, including numerous BAFTAs, National Television Awards, and International Emmys. His tenure as the UK’s premiere chat show host started on Channel 4 in the late 90s with So Graham Norton and continues now on BBC1 with The Graham Norton Show.
Graham has been hosting the iconic Eurovision Song Contest for over a decade, and most recently, appeared as a judge on the smash hit RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. He is also a Sunday Times bestselling author of two successful memoirs and three critically acclaimed novels.
Listeners to Norton’s BBC2 Radio program will be hoping that part of the move to Virgin will include Maria McErlane who co-presents some of the best parts of Norton’s program on Saturdays.
Virgin Radio UK is 100% owned by Wireless, which was acquired by News UK in 2016.
In the latest RAJAR UK radio ratings, the Virgin Radio Network grew reach by 17.2% year-on-year (to 1.7m) while hours were up 17.6% year-on-year (to 10.1m).
See also: UK radio: Aussies behind the biggest, and smallest, breakfast shows
The new spin on Freaky Friday sees Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton play a serial killer and a teenage girl who swaps bodies and the teenage girl’s attempts to swap back.
The other change to the top five from this weekend is the return of Tenet which is back after spending two weeks outside of the top five.
The two films to drop out of the top five over the weekend were Radioactive and The Craft: Legacy.
Overall, the Australian box office is up 38% after making $3.30m.
The latest rendition of the body-swap classic has caught Australian audiences attention by blending comedy and horror with the film averaging $2,204 on 266 screens.
After 12 weeks the sci-fi blockbuster has returned to the top five, which makes it 10 out of 12 weeks that is has been one of the top-earning films. Tenet saw a huge increase of 496% from the weekend prior as it had an average of $3,886 on 149 screens, giving it the highest average of the weekend. Tenet now has a total of $12.72m.
The Australian comedy-drama has now been in cinemas for three weeks and has seen its total swell to $2.93m. Despite slipping from #1 to #3 the film was the most screened film in the country over the weekend being shown on 326 screens, averaging $1,545.
After four weeks Honest Thief is still in the top five and has seen its total grow to $2.48m. This past weekend the film averaged $1,498 on 252 screens.
Trolls World Tour has spent 12 straight weeks in the top five as it enjoys a very lengthy release. The film has now made a total of $7.83m after averaging 1,310 on 216 screens.
By James Manning
• As The Block exits weeknights, Seven moves into first place
• SAS Australia #1 entertainment show, Obama finds an audience at 10
Nine News 959,000/931,000
Seven News 899,000/920,000
ABC News 735,000
10 News First 336,000/234,000
SBS World News 151,000
Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 666,000
The Project 289,000/480,000
The Drum 194,000
News Breakfast 201,000
Late Night News
The Latest 164,000
ABC Late News 140,000
Nine News Late 103,000
World News Late 43,000
Seven: With no episode of The Block in the Nine schedule, Seven won its first night in 12 weeks.
Colby’s trial got underway on Home and Away with 566,000 after a week 46 average of 515,000.
Episode nine of SAS Australia was on 676,000 making it #1 entertainment program of the night. Plenty of gruelling challenges last night, but no recruits threw in the towel. Two opt out tonight though apparently.
Two episodes of The Rookie had audiences of 329,000 and 260,000.
Nine: Tracy Grimshaw warned viewers at the start of A Current Affair that Brady Halls’ story about neglect in an aged care home would be hard to watch and she wasn’t wrong. The episode started the show’s week with 666,000 watching after an average of 687,000 last week.
No episode of The Block for the first time in 12 weeks with Gold Coast Cops moving to Nine to fill the spot. The series has launched on the channel with audiences just over 400,000 for the two episodes.
The James Bond festival then continued with Skyfall on 265,000.
10: The Project took over two hours of primetime, firstly with the regular episode on 289,000 and then 480,000 after 7pm. The episode featured music makers Tina Arena and AC/DC. The show’s 7pm average last week was 450,000.
The Project’s Peter van Onselen then hosted Barack Obama: The Interview which was in fact two recent interviews the former President gave to CBS. The audience was 470,000 which is a good result for an hour of US politics in primetime.
The penultimate 2020 episode of Have You Been Paying Attention? featured Ed and Sam with Tony Martin, Amanda Keller and Urzila Carlson. The episode was on 617,000 after 621,000 a week ago.
ABC: 7.30 started its new week on 610,000 after an average of 632,000 last week.
Australian Story featured how serial killer Bradley Edwards hid in plain sight for nearly 25 years before WA detectives finally tracked him down. The episode was on 601,000.
There is no more Four Corners this year after last week’s explosive investigation. Instead viewers were offered the first of the three-part In the Face of Terror which did 389,000.
Media Watch had an audience of 455,000 and Q+A was called Sex, Lies and Better Politics with 307,000 watching.
SBS: The Great House Revival followed SBS World News with 153,000 watching the Irish renovation.
The second episode of Life and Birth then did 103,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||3.7%||GO!||1.8%||10 Bold||4.0%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||2.6%||GEM||2.8%||10 Peach||2.3%||Food Net||0.7%|
|ABC NEWS||1.7%||7flix||1.8%||9Life||1.8%||10 Shake||0.4%||NITV||0.1%|
|9Rush||1.2%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||4.8%||GO!||2.6%||WIN Bold||5.1%||VICELAND||1.8%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||4.4%||GEM||5.2%||WIN Peach||2.4%||Food Net||0.6%|
|ABC NEWS||1.2%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.4%||9Life||1.8%||Sky News on WIN||2.1%||NITV||0.1%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Alexi Baker says she’s happy to talk about the relationship with Hugh Marks – how it started, and why she, and then he, had to quit – because she can see a false narrative taking hold, reports The Australian’s Caroline Overington.
The actual story, she says, is this: she started at Nine when it was a pure TV company in 2011. Marks was already there but didn’t become CEO until 2015.
Together they worked on some monster deals – Nine has in the past five years merged with Fairfax; there’s been a deal with Macquarie Radio; cricket was dropped for tennis; NRL was nailed down, and so on – and while both were once married, they each in time became single.
She agrees that people were surprised: she’s in her 30s, and has no children; she lives in the trendy inner-city apartment, drives a sporty car, favours Louboutin heels; he’s in his 50s, divorced with four kids and called Hollywood Hugh in an ironic way because he’s a bit of a dork.
But, she says, “when there is some chemistry, I think you both feel it”. That said, it’s all still “pretty new”. How new? For example, has she met his kids?
“Not all of them,” she replies.
An anonymous email about outgoing Nine chief executive Hugh Marks being in a relationship with former senior executive Alexi Baker before the public revelations on Saturday morning has raised questions about whether somebody was trying to undermine the boss of Australia’s biggest media company, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
The email, sent on Friday morning, detailed the relationship before it was made public on Saturday and asked questions about what information chairman Peter Costello knew and when.
Nine Entertainment investors are demanding answers about the circumstances surrounding the departure of chief executive Hugh Marks at the weekend, with concerns over when and who knew about the office relationship that ended his time at the top of the media giant, report The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich and Cliona O’Dowd.
Martin Currie chief investment officer Reece Birtles said he would be seeking answers from the Nine board, in particular about their governance processes.
Martin Currie’s parent company Legg Mason is the third-largest Nine shareholder after billionaire Bruce Gordon and fund manager Pendal Group.
Hugh Marks ‘retirement’ from Nine leaves open myriad questions which makes cultural change at the company impossible until a new boss is in the chair, reports The Australian’s John Durie.
The simple fact is Marks is leaving for a basic governance flaw of keeping his board informed about his relationship with a direct report.
The simple rule of thumb about any relationship between a chief executive and a direct report is that it must be declared to the chair and the board. Plainly, this obvious rule was broken.
That explains why the board is split and the management in turmoil.
News Corp Australia NSW news brand The Daily Telegraph has flipped the switch on its new-look website. The move comes after The Advertiser previewed the new company-wide re-design earlier this month.
The website explains the changes to readers today:
Today, readers are discovering a whole new dailytelegraph.com.au.
NSW’s premier news, sport, entertainment and information website has been rebuilt from the ground up to be faster, smarter, less congested and much more user-friendly.
For the past year, we have spent hundreds of hours with people all over Australia to find out what they want from their news websites and mobile sites.
Our new suite of digital products gives our audience what they’ve asked for.
They asked for speed: we’ve delivered, by building one of the quickest-to-load news sites of any publisher, anywhere.
They asked to be able to find what they’re looking for more easily: we’ve delivered, by presenting a design that is clean and simple plus an intuitive navigation system that means users are only ever one click away from their area of interest.
They asked for more relevant content: we’ve delivered with more community news coverage across the state and personalised recommendations based on your reading habits. And in coming weeks, we’ll introduce topics that enable all content about that subject to be collected on one page.
News Corp Australia’s chief technology officer Julian Delany said the dramatic rise in consumer expectations around digital products in recent years has prompted a rethink in what News offers to its audiences.
“We’ve spoken to Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and NewsLocal readers to listen to their views and hear directly what they want and expect from a digital news product,” he said.
Amber Giles has been appointed as editor of TV Week, who has been with the magazine for 10 years, reports TV Tonight.
Most recently deputy editor, she assumes the role vacated by Thomas Woodgate in May. The perennial magazine is published by Are Media (formerly Bauer Media).
In a statement to TV Tonight, she said, “I am thrilled to be appointed as editor of TV Week magazine. It’s an iconic brand that I’ve worked on for 10 years and I’ve grown a close affinity to our dedicated readers who love TV as much as we do.
“While the way we consume TV is rapidly changing, we need to ensure we can keep delivering the inside scoop for our readers as they’ve come to expect over the decades.”
TV Week is one of the most-read magazines in Australia with over 500,000 readers in the most recent emma readership data.
News Talk 2GB 873 has unveiled a line-up of sporting greats to co-host Wide World of Sports radio over the summer months, starting Monday, November 23.
Former Australian cricket captain Mark ‘Tubby’ Taylor will join the team each Monday night, tennis legend Todd Woodbridge will feature on Tuesdays, former ironwoman Candice Warner will appear each Wednesday, while the former long-time TV host of Wide World of Sports, Ken Sutcliffe, will continue as a special guest each Thursday night for “Kenny’s Corner”.
James Bracey, Peter Psaltis and Tim Gilbert have also been announced as fill-in hosts over summer, while regular host Mark Levy takes a short break before filling in for Ray Hadley on Mornings from mid-December.
“Wide World of Sports radio has been a popular addition to our 2GB line-up in 2020 and we’re thrilled that Mark, Todd and Candice are joining our line-up as we head into the summer of tennis and cricket,” said 2GB content manager, Luke Davis.
“The show gives Sydney listeners the unique opportunity to speak directly to some of the biggest names in sport and with the experience of Brace, Psalty and Tim at the helm, we’ve got a cracking summer of radio ahead.”
WWOS is broadcast on 2GB every Monday to Thursday 6pm-7pm.
The Block auctions are less than a week away, with the five houses at New Street, Brighton attracting hundreds of thousands of online listing views – but which one has had the most? asks Domain’s Jemimah Clegg.
With an impressive 194,129 views so far, Harry and Tash’s House 1 has proven most popular with online listing viewers since going live in late September, recent data shows.
Jimmy and Tam’s House 5 came in second, with 160,287 views. This means the multi room-winning house clocked about 30,000 hits fewer than House 1.
The Prince of Wales has refused to watch The Crown, royal sources disclosed, as friends said it was “terrible” that his name was being “dragged through the mud”, reports the London Telegraph.
The new series of the Netflix drama includes the arrival of the young Diana Spencer and rakes over her fledgling relationship with the Prince, whom it makes clear is still in love with Camilla Parker Bowles.
As their marriage becomes increasingly toxic, the Prince is portrayed in a harsh light, withholding the love and affection Diana desperately needed, jealous of her popularity and ultimately treating her with contempt.
Friends of the Prince yesterday accused Netflix of “trolling on a Hollywood budget”, exploiting the Royal family’s pain for financial gain and presenting “fiction as fact”.
One told the Mail on Sunday: “This is drama and entertainment for commercial ends being made with no regard to the actual people involved who are having their lives hijacked and exploited. It’s dragging up things that happened during very difficult times 25 or 30 years ago without a thought for anyone’s feelings. That isn’t right or fair, particularly when so many of the things depicted don’t represent the truth.”
A source who could not be identified because they work with the royal family said that the Prince did not watch The Crown, and was unlikely to even be aware that a new series had been released. “He has absolutely no view of The Crown,” they said. “He would rather distance himself from the whole thing.” A palace insider was quoted as saying: “There is no sense of telling carefully nuanced stories. It’s all very two-dimensional.”
Nicole Kidman has stopped by the Darlinghurst apartment building where an 18-storey portrait of the A-list actor is painted, report News Corp’s Kaitlyn Hudson-O’Farrell and Jonathon Moran.
Covering her mouth with a surprised look, Kidman shared the happy snap to her millions of followers on social media.
“WOW!” she wrote on Instagram. “Thank you Sydney for celebrating #TheUndoing.”
Streaming service Binge commissioned the larger-than-life piece of Kidman, 53, as her character in miniseries The Undoing to celebrate the program’s success.
Tennis Australia have put forward a historic proposal to extend the summer beyond January’s Australian Open to keep players in the country until mid-February, report Nine Publishing’s Michael Chammas and Sam McClure
It comes as Sydney looks set to go without any tennis action this summer, with government restrictions likely to force all interstate lead-up events to Melbourne. TA on Monday revealed a $33 million biosecurity investment to keep the Australian Open alive.
However, chief executive Craig Tiley has hatched a plan to capitalise on the number of players set to arrive in the country from mid-December, putting forward a proposal to stage more events after the Australian Open wraps up on January 31.
“We’re planning a five-, potentially six-week summer. I think that’ll be great for our sport here in Australia, great for our position globally, and particularly if this is broadcast around the world. It’s a great opportunity.”