Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras moves to ABC, ends 8 year partnership with SBS

The ABC has won the broadcast rights for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras) in a three-year deal, which will see the annual event broadcast on ABC Radio and ABC Television. The public broadcaster has also won the broadcast rights to WorldPride, which is set to be held in Sydney in February and March 2023.

SBS has been Mardi Gras’ broadcast partner since 2014.

An SBS spokesperson told Mumbrella: “SBS has been proud to be the official broadcast partner for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for eight wonderful years, beaming the parade to communities throughout Australia and around the world, while also ensuring stories of people from across the country were a part of the occasion. There is nothing like the celebration of pride, inclusion and acceptance of Mardi Gras, and having both the parade and the World Pride events come to Sydney marks an exciting new era. We look forward to seeing what’s to come and joining in the party alongside Australians, whilst SBS will continue to find new ways to explore LGBTQI+ issues, stories and perspectives across our network.”

ABC now has the broadcast rights for the Sydney Mardi Gras

ABC managing director David Anderson said: “This is a homecoming for Mardi Gras. The ABC was the first broadcaster to televise Sydney Mardi Gras in 1994. We’ve waited 28 years for it to return and from 2022 onwards, we will provide coverage of Mardi Gras that only the ABC can, without commercial interests.”

The ABC is ad-free, and Mardi Gras has already announced AMEX as the principal partner of Mardi Gras, as well as of WorldPride 2023. Other key sponsors and partners for Mardi Gras include Deloitte, Qantas and Woolworths Group. In 2021, ANZ and TikTok also partnered with the annual event. Deloitte is also a sponsor of WorldPride.

When approached for comment on the status of the sponsorships given the switch to an ad-free broadcaster, a Mardi Gras spokesperson said: “The ABC agreement won’t change any of our partnership deals, as partners choose to work with Mardi Gras to support their LGBTQI+ employees and the wider community. The broadcast is not a standard benefit for partners, it’s an additional inclusion. Our ABC partnership is part of Mardi Gras’ ‘Always On’ strategy, which will help us reach LGBTQI+ communities all across Australia, throughout the entire year – not just the festival season.”

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said: “We’re thrilled to have the ABC join us as our broadcast partner for the next three years. Our national broadcaster has been a longtime champion of LGBTQI+ communities, and we are proud to partner with such an icon of the Australian media landscape whose values and ethics align with our own. We look forward to working alongside their talented and committed team to amplify the diverse voices of our LGBTQI+ communities, as well as share our stories with the rest of the country.”

WorldPride’s CEO Kate Wickett added: “When WorldPride comes to the Asia-Pacific in 2023, Australia’s national broadcaster is the ideal broadcasting partner to amplify our LGBTQI+ culture and community. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, with Sydney WorldPride is coming home to where it belongs. I would like to thank and acknowledge ABC chair Ita Buttrose for her unwavering support and advocacy for our LGBTQI+ communities throughout the decades, in particular for taking a leading role as a national voice of health messaging during the AIDS crisis.”

The ABC has been given both the television and radio rights to the event until 2024, with Triple J named as the host radio broadcaster.


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