William Hill Australia will have no courtside presence at the upcoming Australian Open (Melbourne 16-19 January), due to this year’s widespread allegations of match-fixing in tennis.
Steve Healy President of Tennis Australia (TA) confirmed the organisation’s decision yesterday, stating that no William Hill branding would be visible on court matches during the tournament.
Healy stated that the TA decision regarding William Hill as official betting partner of the Australian Open had been understood and supported by the bookmaker, who backs the sport’s anti-corruption efforts.
“We need to put it in perspective; the arrangements that were struck with William Hill before this issue had such a high profile and so we’ve worked with our partners to address that,” Healy commented
In October 2015, William Hill announced that it had signed a ‘historic sponsorship’ by becoming the first ever Official Betting Partner of the Australian Open.
At the time, it was reported that William Hill had paid AUS $5 million, its biggest ever Australian marketing sponsorship, as the bookmaker looked to expand its brand presence within the new market.
However, during the 2016 Australian Open, the sport of tennis became embroiled in a widespread match-fixing allegations brought forward by the BBC and Buzzfeed news.
Australian Open officials came under fire for promoting a bookmaker during the Grand Slam event, despite William Hill having no implication in any of the match-fixing allegations.
Confirming its courtside advertising decision, TA governance stated to the media that William Hill Australia had not been dropped as a sponsor of the ‘Aussie Open’.