Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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    Is Nine closing in on Melbourne Cup broadcast rights?

    Nine appears to be closing in on the free-to-air broadcast rights of the Melbourne Cup after its contract with Ten formally concluded following this year’s race.

    The conglomerate is the only remaining network interested in doing an FTA deal with the Victorian Racing Club (VRC), which could see them potentially paying $5 million a year to broadcast the race, according to The Australian Financial Review.

    In September, the publication reported that Seven was interested in re-acquiring “The Race That Stops the Nation”. However, it stopped short after Tabcorp and VRC demanded the network end its coverage of NSW racing during the Melbourne Racing Carnival, which reportedly outrated the Melbourne coverage.

    However, a spokesperson from Nine told Mediaweek: “We don’t comment on rumours.”

    The deal with Nine also comes as the VRC finds itself in a challenging financial situation after borrowing from ANZ and building up more than $45 million in operation losses, according to The Australian.

    The publication reported that if a contract between Nine and VRC is agreed on, the deal would cover a small amount of the rights and likely be signed in early 2024.

    Earlier this year, Tabcorp was named the primary broadcast rights holder for the Melbourne Cup Carnival. However, the rights must be sublicensed to a free-to-air broadcaster because of Australian anti-siphoning laws and a proposed agreement with the VRC.
    Sources have confirmed with The Australian that the gambling company and VRC have agreed to a six-year contract that includes sponsorship and other wagering rights potentially worth more than $100 million to the VRC.
    See also:
    Melbourne Cup to get a new home as broadcast rights negotiations heat up
    In June, Channel Ten revealed it had choosen not to proceed with pursuing the rights after it first signed in 2018 for $100 million – with the new deal to hand over the rights from 2024 to 2029.
    At the time a Ten spokesperson said in a statement: “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 Ten considered the preferences of its viewers and advertisers, and politely declined to move forward with the process.”

    Top image: Melbourne Cup 2023

    The post Is Nine closing in on Melbourne Cup broadcast rights? appeared first on Mediaweek.

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