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The Victoria Racing Club (VRC), Tabcorp and Nine Entertainment (Nine) announced a groundbreaking broadcast, media and sponsorship deal for the world-famous Melbourne Cup Carnival from 2024 to 2029.

The landmark agreement will see the VRC and Tabcorp enter a game-changing partnership combining enhanced year-round sponsorship, and domestic and international media rights for the Carnival.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival will be broadcast on all SKY platforms and the TAB app, with Tabcorp having the right to on-sell the coverage to wagering providers.

Nine will be the free to air partner of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, including audio-visual rights for broadcast, streaming, mobile, digital and social platforms. Tabcorp will be the exclusive wagering integration partner for Nine’s broadcast of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

The new rights package means that Nine will be the broadcast home of Penfolds Derby Day, Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, VRC Oaks Day and TAB Champions Stakes Day. All four days of the Carnival – one of the nation’s most significant cultural events – will be broadcast live and free in high-definition on Channel 9 and streamed on 9Now.

The partnership allows the VRC to invest strategically for the long term in the key areas of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, member engagement, the year-round racing programme, Flemington Racecourse tracks and facilities and the broader community. It will also bring significant new investment to the racing industry which will support and fund innovations on and off the track, create new jobs and further enhance equine welfare initiatives.

The agreement represents a partnership encompassing broadcast, content, partnership rights and race naming rights. This partnership will create significant exposure for the brands and their partners as it brings together the biggest names in sport.

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VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said that this was an important strategic announcement for the industry, Tabcorp, Nine and the VRC.

“The VRC is delighted to extend and enhance its long-term partnership with Tabcorp. As Australia’s first major event, the Melbourne Cup Carnival will sit very appropriately in the calendar of Nine’s Wide World of Sport major event coverage,” Mr Wilson said.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s pre-eminent racing event, and the partnership continues the VRC’s unwavering commitment to showcasing the very best the sport of racing has to offer and attracting new fans to the sport.

“The iconic nature of the event was highlighted by a successful 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival, with more than 262,000 racing fans at Flemington and millions more engaging with the Lexus Melbourne Cup at home and abroad.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of Australia’s most culturally and economically important major events, and it is right here in Melbourne – considered by many as the sporting capital of the world.

“As its custodians, the VRC places significant emphasis on protecting the history and tradition of Cup Week, which is loved by so many Australians, while innovating for the future and investing in our club and the major event that is the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“This landmark partnership is not only good for Melbourne and Victorian racing, but it also guarantees our sport has primacy across multiple platforms and channels.

“The partnership will enhance the community engagement and economic contribution that followed the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival, which saw more than $500,000 raised for different charity groups, an estimated 16,000 jobs generated and the delivery of thousands of visitors to Victoria from interstate and international locations, highlighting the broader impact of the event,” Mr Wilson said.

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The Melbourne Cup Carnival delivered $422.1 million in economic benefit to Victoria in 2022, making it the largest economic contributor to the state of any major annual sporting event in the past decade, with early modelling suggesting the 2023 economic impact will be even greater than 2022.

In 2022, one in two adult Australians engaged with Lexus Melbourne Cup Day in some way and in 2023, the race itself was broadcast to 209 countries and territories with a potential global reach of 750 million people.

A key component of the partnership will see the VRC take the reins on managing the production for racing coverage through VRC Media, working closely with Tabcorp and Nine to elevate the way racing is broadcast across the globe.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said the partnership underlined the club’s strategic commitment to being a world leader in racing, media, sponsorship and event experience.

“The partnership with Tabcorp and the arrangements with Nine have been developed by our close strategic alignment and a desire to grow and innovate in our industry,” Mr Rosich said.

“We are thrilled that in 2024 the Melbourne Cup Carnival will join the Nine big event stable alongside the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Australian Open and State of Origin.

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“Nine’s capability to showcase coverage of Melbourne Cup Carnival racing and events across the depth of their leading broadcast and streaming assets make for a compelling partnership outcome.”

Mr Rosich also thanked previous Melbourne Cup Carnival broadcast partner Network 10.

“The VRC acknowledges and thanks Network 10 for bringing together exceptional coverage of the Melbourne Cup Carnival since 2019. In partnership with Network 10 the VRC has expanded the range and reach of Cup Week across domestic and international audiences, and we were delighted to finish the partnership on a high, with increased viewership on Network 10 and 10 Play.”

Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild said: “Tabcorp’s partnership with the VRC and Nine is the most innovative in Australian sport and we can’t wait to bring our entire digital, broadcast and retail ecosystem together to grow and promote the Melbourne Cup Carnival together.

“This partnership builds on Tabcorp winning the 20-year Victorian exclusive wagering licence and will be a key pillar of our growth strategy. Together with our Brand and Customer transformation, this partnership gives us a terrific platform to grow in Victoria, throughout Australia and around the world as we beam the Cup to more than 60 different countries through Sky Racing.”

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