The Australian Financial Review has reported that Tennis Australia will be investigated by corporate watchdog Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) due to potential conflicts of interest due to the open tender of Australian Open rights in 2013.
It is reported that the investigation will look at concerns involving Harold Mitchell, a Tennis Australia director and former vice-president and how the deal was handled by Tennis Australia’s board led by president Steve Healy.
The investigations are continuing in the background whilst the governing body is holding the 2017 Australian Open.
The newspaper said that in 2013 Tennis Australia and Seven agreed to a five-year extension to the network’s broadcast deal worth about $35 million annually without taking the rights to an open market tender which left Seven’s rivals fuming as there was no chance to bid for the rights.
If the rights were left to the open market there was potential to drive up the tournament’s annual broadcast value. The Australian Financial Review added that global sports marketing and media agency IMG were rebuffed after making an initial offer to pay about $40 million annually.