Seven boss welcomes Golden Eagle clash with Derby day
“We’re looking to build the Eagle this year out of NSW, because that was a phenomenal start last year for the Eagle. That’s something we’ll be building on for this year,” he said.
“I guess it is [a direct clash with Network 10]. We were really encouraged with how the Eagle was embraced.
“The Eagle is effectively the grand final for four-year-olds so it’s not a big stretch to think about how we might be talking about the Eagle coming up this year through the preliminary and AFL grand finals.”
Network 10 had launched a bid to steal Racing Victoria’s premium race days off Seven to complement its Cup week coverage, reportedly offering $25 million over five years, but RV last week announced that its partnership with Seven would continue until 2025.
RV chief executive Giles Thompson on Tuesday described the new deal as “the most lucrative free-to-air media deal we’ve ever signed”, although according to reports, Seven’s deal – which included a five-year extension of the industry-owned Racing.com – did not match Network 10’s offer in “direct media dollars”.
While Martin said he did not go into the negotiations with arrogance, he was confident Seven’s relationship with Racing Victoria would continue.
“We’re the best partner and I always recognised we were not alone in this discussion but as I said, I’m a big believer in partnerships and so are Racing Victoria and we’ve had a wonderful one,” he said.
This year’s spring carnival will be unlike any other, with the prospect of crowds proving faint and the likelihood that racing’s marquee events, such as the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate, will share the media landscape with AFL finals.
But Martin said he saw that as an opportunity for racing. “I don’t see it as a challenge,” he said.
“We’ve been planning a lot of different cross-promotional opportunities for racing, right across the finals and into October. We’ll be working with the AFL.
“We’ve got some really interesting ideas about the Caulfield Cup and The Everest into a grand final or a preliminary final, or the Cox Plate into a grand final and then obviously into the [Golden] Eagle.
“I think it’s going to be a phenomenal five weeks relating to the football that we’ll be able to tell the story across both.”
Martin said racing had shown through the winter that it had a loyal following and the ability to succeed through COVID.
“I think it was one of racing’s greatest moments, was that winter,” he said.
“To have Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane content and Adelaide content and a combination across nine weeks, it was a bit like the five families all in the one restaurant and everyone got along and everybody enjoyed the meals so to speak.
“I’ll always be grateful to the racing industry for their commitment during that time because it gave us content for our viewers.”
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.