That Roger Federer is something special. His straight-sets win last night over Mischa Zverev was strategic tennis at its best, and the Seven Network bosses from Kerry Stokes down gave thanks, once again. Rafa Nadal plays tonight and Seven’s hopes are again riding on him as well, with Seven executives again cross fingers — and now having to confront a reported probe by the corporate regulator of the way it retained the tennis broadcast rights in 2013 for the period 2015 to 2019.

The tennis and the Big Bash went head to head last night from 7.30pm. The tennis won with 1.150 million watching on Seven’s main channel against 1.041 million for the first session of the Big Bash’s first semi-final between Melbourne and Perth. The second session quickly became a forgone conclusion with a Perth win and the inevitability of Perth’s win saw the audience drop away to 976,000 for a game average of 1.009 million till around 11.10pm. Earlier in the afternoon, a total of 167,000 people watched the first women’s semi-final. The second semis in both competitions are played this afternoon and tonight.

That was a solid effort and enough to push Nine back to third in the main channels in the metros and regions, with the tennis pushing Seven to a clear win overall and in the main channels.

The absence of any headline Australian players (like Dasha Gavrilova) on Monday night meant Seven’s audience was not as strong last night. Monday night’s main channel figure was 1.322 million, 172,000 more than last night. Throw in the 169,000 who watched on 7TWo last night and a total of 1.319 million people watched Seven’s coverage last night, still 3000 short of Monday night’s main channel audience.

In regional markets, Seven News was tops with 489,000, followed by Seven News/Today Tonight with 386,000, ACA was third with 341,000, followed by the first session of the Big Bash semi with 336,000 and Nine News was fifth with 336,000. — Read the rest of Glenn Dyer’s TV ratings here

Peter Fray

Inoculate yourself against the spin

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey