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Free-to-air deal close for racing from Brisbane and Sydney

Tommy Berry riding Amangiri wins Race 7 Chalker Accountants Hawkesbury Gold Cup during Sydney Racing at Rosehill Gardens on April 25 (by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Australian gambling entertainment group Tabcorp has said it is close to a deal to provide coverage from its pay-television horse racing broadcaster, Sky Racing, on a free-to-air basis until the easing of restrictions caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Sky Racing holds rights to Sydney and Brisbane horse racing outside of 22 feature Sydney meetings, which are televised by free-to-air commercial broadcaster Seven under a deal with Racing NSW, and a handful of Brisbane winter meetings, which Seven also offers through a contract with Racing Queensland.

A deal is close whereby racing from the Sky Thoroughbred Racing channel would be provided on a major network, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Saturday race days will be shown free-to-air until the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Tabcorp said: “We have a live sport and are negotiating to get it on free-to-air TV and have had interest from a number of networks.

“We want to allow as many people to watch races on Saturday as possible and realise that not everyone has access to pay-TV. We want to allow people who would usually access the races on Saturdays at other venues the ability to watch them at home.”

Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell added: “We would like to have as many eyeballs on racing as possible and this is an opportunity for racing to be seen by a bigger audience.”