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Big race days up for grabs with Seven TV deal set to expire

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A spokesman for RV on Sunday said “discussion around future media rights remain ongoing”.

“They are commercial in confidence so we won’t be commenting on them,” the spokesman added. “The Seven winter trial concluded yesterday.”

Seven West Media is a part-owner of Racing.com, the industry-owned racing channel, and also holds the rights to Racing NSW’s feature race days.

Network Ten last year completed a five-year deal with the Victoria Racing Club – worth $20 million a year – to broadcast the four days of Melbourne Cup week, but has no other rights to racing.

Victorian racing has enjoyed increased airtime on free-to-air television over the past nine Saturdays as it continued to operate behind closed doors through the coronavirus pandemic, with Seven choosing to extend its coverage beyond the feature autumn meetings in a winter trial.

That trial finished with Saturday’s meeting at Caulfield.

Racing.com will be the sole free-to-air source of Victorian racing from Saturday until a new deal is struck, likely to be by Memsie Stakes day on August 29.

If Seven is able to renew its deal to broadcast Victorian racing’s feature meetings, it would hold the rights to both AFL finals and racing’s marquee spring carnival events through October.

Seven also holds the rights to Racing NSW’s major racing events, including The Everest, and would be able to broadcast both states’ racing on the one channel.

If Network Ten is successful in its pursuit of Victorian racing, it would go head-to-head with Seven’s coverage of Sydney’s racing, as it did when Derby Day clashed with the Golden Eagle meeting on the first day of last year’s Melbourne Cup carnival.

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