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Tabcorp’s MELBOURNE CUP deal awaits CHANNEL 9’s confirmation

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Negotiations for the next Melbourne Cup broadcast deal are continuing with Channel 9 remaining as the only interested party.

Wagering giant Tabcorp is now the primary broadcast rights holder for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, but under Australian anti-siphoning laws and a proposed agreement with the event’s owner, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), it must sublicense the rights to a free-to-air broadcaster.

Earlier this year in June, Tabcorp extended an invitation to networks, gauging interest in securing domestic free-to-air rights under a deal that would see coverage simulcast on the Tabcorp-owned Sky Racing channels and exclusively on its mobile betting app platforms.

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The Australian is today reporting Tabcorp and the VRC have now agreed to a six-year contract – including sponsorship and other wagering rights – that could be worth more than $100m to the VRC.

The finalisation of this deal however remains dependent on the confirmation of a free-to-air broadcast deal with Channel 9 from 2024 onwards.

The new FTA deal is expected to see Nine pay as little as $5 million per year for the rights with the VRC and TabCorp producing the racing coverage in a move that will likely see an increased focus on horses rather than marquees and fashion.

Broadcast host Eddie McGuire has previously boasted he looked forward to presenting the carnival on Chanel 10 in 2023 and on Channel 9 in 2024 and beyond.

Channel 7 formally withdrew from the negotiation process in September after the network grew impatient in trying to negotiate through the unrealistic terms being imposed by Tabcorp and the VRC.

TV Blackbox reported at the time Seven was willing to offer significantly increased exposure for Victorian racing, it was unwilling to commit to a request from the VRC to end it commitment to NSW racing coverage during the Melbourne Carnival week.

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Seven’s rival coverage of NSW events during Cup week has regularly outrated Melbourne festivities during the five years it has been broadcast on Channel 10. A fact that proved to be significantly embarrassing for the VRC.

The move by Seven to walk away from this new deal left Channel 9 as the only network still involved in the negotiation process.

Previous rights holder Channel 10 was the first to withdraw from the negotiation process with TV Blackbox reporting in late June that 10’s owners Paramount ANZ had rejected a proposal that would have seen Tabcorp receive a 50 per cent share of all wagering advertisements during the four-day carnival, from any potential free-to-air partner.

A spokesperson for 10 also expressed frustration at the expectation Tabcorp would seek to take editorial control of the free-to-air coverage stating,

“Throughout the course of the current negotiations, it became clear that the nature of the agreement between Tabcorp and the VRC would require a move towards a core racing and wagering-focused broadcast product.

“Given this likely change in focus combined with commercial constraints of the future agreement, Network 10 considered the preferences of its viewers and advertisers, and politely declined to move forward with the process.

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Kevin Perry
Kevin Perryhttps://tvblackbox.com.au/author-kevin-perry/
Senior Editor and Co-Owner of the TV Blackbox website, Kevin Perry is an experienced media commentator focused on TV Production, Consumer Tech, SVOD & Sports Broadcasting. Media enquiries please Call or Text 0428-275-111
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