Sportsbet Causes Advertisement Controversy at Australian Open

Sportsbet Ad Australian Open

Christos Kyrgios wears a new Sportsbet shirt each match, with phrases like “Chill Bro” and “Nick Nick Boom” below the logo.

Sportsbet, a sponsor of FoxSports digital Australian Open coverage, caused a stir during the early stages of the Australian Open tennis tournament with a well-placed advertisement on a spectator. That spectator was #17 seed Nick Kyrgios’s brother, Christos Kyrgios, who wore a SportsBet t-shirt prominently during the broadcast.

Christos Kyrgios was seen wearing the t-shirt, which had “SPORTSBET” emblazoned across the chest, along with the words “Chill Bro”, during a Channel 7 broadcast of a match between Nick Kyrgios and Viktor Troicki.

Controversy broke out on Wednesday as it was learned that Christos Kyrgios received money for wearing the t-shirt, which was described by the Australian media as a publicity stunt. happens to be a sponsor on’s digital coverage of the Australian Open. Previously, Christos Kyrgios wore a “Sportsbet: Nick Nick Boom” shirt during Nick’s Round 1 match.

Christos Kyrgios: NK Foundation Donations

By Thursday in Australia, it was learned that Christos Kyrgios would donate the funds he earned to a charity, the NK Foundation. It also was learned that Christos Kyrgios works with his more famous brother to raise money for the NK Foundation. The charity organization offers sporting opportunities to underprivileged youth.

Tournament Director Is Critical

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley does not appear to be placated, despite the contribution to a nonprofit organization. In an interview with 3AW, Craig Tiley said he wanted to discuss the matter further.

Tiley told the Australian channel, “He (Chrisos) is entitled to wear what he wants to wear. Is it ideal that he wears that form of overt marketing like that? No. We’re yet to have a conversation…to find out more.”

“In the middle of the match when these things occur it’s not so straightforward to address it. That’s why we’ll be organising to have a conversation about it.”

Australian Ban on Sporting Event Ads

Several issues are at stake. For one, one of Channel 7’s sponsors is a rival betting site of Sportsbet‘s. Also, the advertisement might violate Australian federal law, because the Australian parliament passed a bill in 2017 which makes it illegal to air betting ads during live sporting events before 8:30pm.

Several Australian viewers noted their distaste for the on-air stunt in their Twitter feeds. Sam Landsberger, a typical Aussie tennis viewer, wrote, “As if we don’t see enough gambling advertisements, we now have Nick Kyrgios’s brother acting as a human billboard in the player’s box.”

Trent Copeland, another Twitter user, posted, “Brother Christos is on his feet…He’s on his feet because he’s clearly getting paid to be.”

Nick Kyrgios Career Profile

Nick Kyrgios is no stranger to controversy. The talented 22-year old Australian tennis pro has phenomenal talent, yet has been a disappointment at various times throughout his career. Along with fellow Aussie Leyton Hewitt, Kyrgios is the only tennis player to have won his first meetings with 3 future Hall of Famers: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokavic.

At the same time, besides reaching the 2014 Wimbledon Quarterfinals and 2015 Australian Open Quarterfinals, Nick Kyrgios tends to have quick exits in the ATP’s Majors. Kyrgios admitted in 2017 that he has “probably” tanked at least 8 tournaments — considered an unforgiveable sin in pro tennis — while he’s had public controversies involving 2-time Major winner Stan Wawrinka and former tennis legend and tennis broadcaster John McEnroe.

Nick Kyrgios: Tanking Charges and Fines

Nick Kyrgios has received a variety of fines, including some for purposefully tanking games. One included an 8-week suspension and a hefty fine for tanking during a match against Mischa Zverev during the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. While losing in 48 minutes, Kyrgios told the umpire, “Can you call time so I can finish this match and go home?”

A more famous case of alleged tanking occurred during the 2015 Wimbledon tournament, when Kyrgios lost in the 4th Round to Richard Gasquet. In that case, Kyrgios denied giving up in the match, though members of the audience booed him for his lack of effort.

Until now, Christos Kyrgios has been free from scandal, though it takes an effort for a spectator to start a national-level controversy.