The Melbourne Cup Carnival will bolt to Channel 10 in 2019.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival will bolt to Channel 10 in 2019.

$100 million play in great sports shake-up

THE shake-up of the Australian sports broadcasting landscape has continued with Network Ten confirming a $100 million deal to snatch the Melbourne Cup.

The five-year deal runs from 2019 to 2023 and is being touted by the Victorian Racing Club as one of the biggest in racing globally.

The offer reportedly blew Seven's bid out of the water, as reported late last week.

VRC CEO Neil Wilson said the deal would future proof the cup and the entire sport of racing.

"During the comprehensive tender process Network Ten proved themselves to be the best partner to take us into the future," he said.

"This partnership will extend the Melbourne Cup Carnival to be visible across the network, across platforms and across the full year. In addition, it gives us the opportunity to engage new and growing audiences to our Carnival and to the sport of racing."

It will be a homecoming of sorts for 'the race that stops a nation' with the Melbourne Cup previously broadcast on Ten between 1978 and 2001 before Seven swooped in to pinch the rights.

Rekindling, ridden by Corey Brown, was the 2017 Melbourne Cup champion.
Rekindling, ridden by Corey Brown, was the 2017 Melbourne Cup champion.

The deal includes rights to a suite of products for Ten including free-to-air TV, internet, social media, mobile, OTT (Over-The-Top) and HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) within Australia.

Ten also agreed terms with Racing.com to live coverage of all races across the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Network Ten CEO Paul Anderson said it was an exciting development which would renew the broadcaster's historical relationship with the event.

"Our Network has a rich history with this world-class event having been the broadcaster of the race that stops a nation for over two decades," he said.

"The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of the most prestigious horseracing events in the world, and Cup Day is iconic, not just in the sporting calendar, but for all Australians.

"As part of this landmark media rights partnership, all the thrill and excitement of the Melbourne Cup Carnival story will live on Network Ten across the entire year, and be showcased in new ways across our various platforms."

Channel 7 will broadcast the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival before the move.

Last Friday, a Seven spokesman said: "We are proud of our award-winning racing coverage, but as we have consistently said about the economics of sports rights, the deal must make commercial sense or we will step away.

"While another party has placed a far higher valuation on these four afternoons of television, we will do what is financially responsible and right for our shareholders."

Seven’s Bruce McAvaney will need his binoculars to watch from the outside in.
Seven’s Bruce McAvaney will need his binoculars to watch from the outside in.

Winning the rights is a big win for the Ten Network, it's first major sporting win since losing the Big Bash League rights in April.

The Big Bash will now be shared by Seven and Foxtel, with Fox Sports having the exclusive rights to all 59 games.

It was an astounding change to the Australian sporting media landscape when announced in April as the cricket rights were seized from Channel 9 for the first time in more than 40 years in a mammoth $1.2 billion deal.

Nine had already snapped up the rights to the Australian Open tennis in late March before signing a deal with the NBL earlier this month.

Until now, Ten had been watching from the sidelines before landing its own big money rights deal.

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