Seven Network favourite for Victorian racing deal   Leave a comment

Seven Network favourite for Victorian racing deal

Racing Writer
Seven set to launch race channel

Melbourne Racing Club CEO Brodie Arnhold at Caulfield Racecourse. Picture Ian Currie. Source: News Limited

Having all but declared itself a non-runner almost six months ago, the Seven Network is looming as the favourite to screen Victorian racing 363 days a year on its digital platform.

With the finish line now in sight, Tabcorp’s final offer for broadcast rights domestically — on their Sky Thoroughbred Central (Channel 521 Foxtel) and internationally — is due to be submitted this week. Racing’s powerbrokers are agitating for change — even if it cost tens of millions of dollars. The Australian has been told Seven will make a presentation to industry shareholders soon and discussions will take place ahead of that later this week.

Seven would provide a digital channel akin to 7two or 7mate, dedicated to delivering 400-plus race meetings annually into all homes.

Establishing the new channel and staffing would cost the Victorian racing industry upwards of $10 million in the first year. Beyond that, advertising revenues will flow back to racing.

As early as September last year, Seven, which telecasts 26 feature meetings on free-to-air at a cost to the racing industry reported to be in the millions, was linked to a bold plan to secure broadcast rights and a wagering licence.

Speculation surrounding a wagering licence resurfaced when Seven emerged as a frontrunner to screen Victorian product, but Tabcorp have the wagering and betting licence in the state until 2024.

Tabcorp had a board meeting earlier this month where it was expected to formalise an offer in the order of $200m and $300m payable across eight or 10 years.

Victorian racing was left out in the cold when the NSW clubs voted to withdraw their broadcast rights, which were aggregated under the banner of ThoroughVisioN (TVN) on Christmas Eve.

A week earlier, Sky Racing had been blocked from receiving Victorian and NSW racing after negotiations on a long-term agreement collapsed.

The NSW clubs were quick to sign a long-term rights deal and on March 14, TVN’s racing channel ceased broadcasting after almost a decade.

Victorian racing has since been streamed on and via corporate bookmakers that signed arrangements entailing a lump sum and a small percentage of turnover.

Under a joint-venture agreement that still has almost nine years to run, Sky Racing 1 — referred to as the wall-to-wall channel — shows all Victorian racing and will continue to do so for the life of the agreement, irrespective of whether another carrier gets the rights.

Sky Thoroughbred Central, formerly Sky Racing World, underwent a makeover in March. While showing content from Victoria, Queensland and other states, Channel 521 focuses on the NSW meetings with live hosts and interviews.

Brodie Arnhold, chief executive of the Melbourne Racing Club, said yesterday that Thoroughbred Central was disrupting coverage of Victorian racing, crossing to the track at the last moment and leaving as the last-horse crossed the line. “It aims to destroy Victorian racing at every level,’’ Arnhold said. “Tabcorp is not a good partner.’’

Another racing executive commented that there was a “robust working relationship’’ between Tabcorp and the industry partners and added the joint-venture agreement was responsible for $342m in funding each year.

Arnhold argued that Seven could provide a new and broader audience a high-quality product.


Posted May 11, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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