Tennis - Harold Mitchell, the former director of Tennis Australia, has been alleged to have prevented rival bids for the broadcast rights of the Australian Open Grand Slam event and pushing for a contract with Channel 7 to be considered in 2013.
Mitchell has been named in a civil trial brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) which began in Melbourne on Monday. According to ASIC, the board of Tennis Australia was not given details about several bids from interested parties for the broadcast rights of the year's first Grand Slam event, which is held in Melbourne, and the rights were given to Channel 7 without an open tender.
The former President and Chair of the Board, Stephen Healy, was also being pursued by the regulator but both Mitchell and Healy have denied any allegations of wrongdoing. ASIC's statement to the court said the wrongdoing "caused harm to Tennis Australia by depriving it of the opportunity to receive higher fees for the domestic broadcast rights that it could have obtained by a competitive tender."
. According to the regulator, Channel 10, Channel 9 and IMG were also interested in obtaining the rights for the 2014 to 2018 period but only the Channel 7 bid was considered by Tennis Australia. The board was not informed with regards to the other offers from interested parties or about the correct value of the deal at the behest of Mr.
Mitchell, according to the court documents. Channel 7 ended up winning the rights by offering $195 million, an average of $39 million per year. In 2018, Challen 9 won a five-year rights deal by paying $300 million. The case is being heard by Justice Jonathan Beach.