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Racing Victoria averts blackout with short-term Sky deal

Australian pay-television horseracing broadcaster Sky Racing has struck a short-term rights deal with the Racing Victoria state organisation, according to the Herald Sun newspaper.

The temporary deal – the precise length of which was not disclosed – has been agreed in order to avert a blackout following the demise of pay-television broadcaster TVN, which will cease broadcasting on March 15.

TVN is 50-per cent owned by the three Melbourne metropolitan race clubs and Country Racing Victoria, with the other half owned by Sydney-based Australian Turf Club.

TVN's Victorian and New South Wales stakeholders in December opted to disaggregate media rights, leaving Tabcorp-owned Sky Racing without rights to racing in the two states. An interim deal resulted in broadcasts being restored in Tabcorp retail outlets and hundreds of pubs and clubs throughout the country.

In response, the TVN board yesterday (Wednesday) said that a separation agreement had been signed and TVN would halt broadcasting next month – a decision that would have meant a blackout for racing in the two states.

Last month, Sky Racing agreed a 10-year rights deal with racing authorities in New South Wales for thoroughbred racing rights in the state.

Now Sky Racing has added a short-term rights deal for racing in Victoria.

Racing Victoria will continue talks with the Sky Racing over a permanent deal, but will also consider other options, the report added.