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Seven sweeps up horse racing rights

Australian commercial broadcaster the Seven Network has acquired domestic rights for a series of horse racing events, including the Sydney Easter Racing and Melbourne Cup carnivals.

In a deal with the Victoria Racing Club, Seven extended rights for live coverage of the Melbourne Cup carnival for five years, from 2014-15 until 2018-19. The agreement also includes coverage of the Super Saturday autumn meeting, which is also operated by the club, and features the Newmarket Handicap and Australian Cup.

In a separate agreement, Seven acquired free-to-air rights for the Sydney Racing carnival and Spring carnival, including the Golden Slipper, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate races, from Australian pay-television horse racing channel TVN. The length of the deal with TVN, which has rights to all thoroughbred racing held in the south-eastern states of New South Wales and Victoria in a 16-year deal, from 2013 to 2028, was not disclosed.

Seven chief executive Tim Worner said there was “enormous” potential to broadcast the races on digital channels 7Two and 7mate as well as Seven’s main channel.

“We will definitely have live sport on all three channels simultaneously in 2013,” Worner told the Australian Financial Review. “That has been something we set our sails for some time ago. That’s exciting for our sales guys but it’s an opportunity for sports too.”