Why did SEVEN put the focus on tennis flog NICK KYRGIOS instead of new nb1 ASH BARTY?

Nick Kyrgios
image - independant.co.uk

The SEVEN Network has angered tennis fans with a programming decision to give priority to tennis tool Nick Kyrgios ahead of Australia’s beloved new Nb1, Ash Barty.

With an overlap in the schedule, SEVEN was forced to make a decision between broadcasting a men’s match between Australian’s Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thomson, or a centre court match featuring Ash Barty.

In a move that caused significant anger, the network opted to keep the focus on the men’s game and use its “MegaWall’ feature to provide only brief highlights and score updates of Ash Barty’s progress.

The Nick Kyrgios match against Jordan Thompson commenced at 8pm AEST and went for five sets with Kyrgios eventually winning, while the Ash Barty match against world No. 43 Saisai Zhengmatch, commenced at 10pm AEST and only lasted two sets.

Adding to the frustration, at the same time SEVEN was juggling the two Australian matches on 7TWO, the networks main channel was airing a repeat episode of Sunday Night True Story focussed on Michael Jackson, the episode had originally aired on SEVEN in February.

SEVEN'S broadcast contract for the Wimbledon tournament prevents it from showing two separate LIVE matches on different channels at the same time.

SEVEN had held exclusive broadcast rights for Barty’s first round match, but did a deal allowing it to be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS when the scheduling conflict became apparent.

A spokesperson for SEVEN defended last night's programming decision, telling TV Blackbox;

“Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson were tied in the third set of a thrilling contest when Ash walked onto court.

We screened as much of Ash’s one-sided game as we could and enabled Foxtel to broadcast it in full.

The massive audience ratings on 7TWO, which were comparable to a Wimbledon Final, show how engaged Aussies were in the epic five setter between Kyrgios and Thompson.”

The networks coverage of the tournament commenced at 8pm AEST on the Standard Definition multichannel 7TWO, and did not move to the primary SEVEN HD channel until 11:30pm AEST, well after both Australian matches were complete.

Last month, rival broadcaster NINE launched a second High Definition channel 9GEMHD, allowing it broadcast this winter’s World Cup/The Ashes cricket coverage in improved resolution.