Ten’s national sales director talks sponsors and diversification for The Melbourne Cup

In just one day, the eyes of the world will be firmly focused on the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup. The 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival will broadcast live and free on Ten and 10 Play on demand.

It will be the third time Ten has aired the Melbourne Cup, after signing a five-year $100 million deal with the Victorian Racing club in 2018.

Lisa Squillace

Ten ViacomCBS national sales director, Lisa Squillace told Mumbrella: “We are absolutely thrilled that Victoria has opened up, just in time for Melbourne Cup week. This will really bring the crowds back to the telecast, which will really bring back that excitement and colour…  it’s so great for Victorians.

“This year, we are definitely shifting back to how The Cup is always supposed to be. Big crowds, crosses all over the place, broadcasting from the ground, and we have a great studio there. Last year we had to pivot because there were no crowds, so we’re really excited to bring back the race that stops the nation, and to be honest we feel like it’s the race that’s starting the nation.”

Ten is also looking to add to the telecasts with new media elements this year. 

“We have the telecast on Ten, and streaming on 10 Play and on-demand, but [this year] we’re also adding the Ten Speaks Racing podcast, and also a YouTube stream called, Colour of the Cup,” said Squillace. “What we’re doing with our telecast is that we’re expanding it and really bringing it back to crowds-on-ground, fashion, all about the horses, and capitalising on Victoria opening up in time.”

Ten Speaks Racing is set to be released every Friday morning.

In terms of sponsors onboard for this year TAB is Ten’s wagering partner, and will provide markets, specials and odds updates ahead of every race throughout the Carnival. While TAB touch (Perth) is Ten’s local Perth wagering partner.

Lexus has returned a principal partner and will be promoting “progressiveness” this Melbourne Cup Carnival with its ‘Live Forward’ messaging. Showcasing the launch of the first all-electric Lexus UX 300e vehicle.

Other partners include: Kennedy, the official timekeepers of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Harvey Norman, sponsoring Jockey profiles across the Carnival, including the post-race horseback interviews with the winning Jockey’s themselves.

Beer brand Furphy will be promoting its ‘Get Vaxxed to the pub’ message across the carnival. While Champagne, Mumm, will also again return as official bubbles provider. 

Beverage group Diageo will be on-ground mixing up carnival cocktails with a special demonstration for viewers to try at home.

Grand Promenade takes out Bart Cummings at Flemington

On board for the coverage is host Michael Felgate, and he’ll be joined by racing presenter Caty Price, mounting yard expert Brittany Taylor, Group 1 winning jockey James Winks and form expert David Gately.

Francesca Cumani will join the coverage from the UK as the international racing expert, while Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne has signed on to lend her insights.

Rob Mills and Ten News First’s Kate Freebairn will cover all things fashion and entertainment, including the Myer Fashions on your Front Lawn competition. They’ll be joined by Natalie Hunter.

Ten’s Melbourne Cup coverage had 1.140 million metro viewers in 2020, a slight drop from 2019’s 1.441 million and a significant fall from 2018’s 1.836 million and 2017’s 1.79 million.

Last year, Ten’s Melbourne Cup coverage had 1.140 million metro viewers

Squillace added: “We are really confident that we will be able to have a similar number of viewers year-on year. In Victoria it’s a Public Holiday. Having people on-ground and not on-ground we don’t think really affects the ratings. We think a lot of people are going to tune-in just because of the excitement of getting back to normality.”

As for inventory sales, Squillace said the pandemic hasn’t affected any of the bookings. “It’s been huge this year. We are in a really high-demand market at the moment, and advertisers are looking for big scale ad mass reach, and the Melbourne Cup Carnival is just that.,” she said.

But before the race that stops the nation, the carnival kicked off with new sponsor Penfolds, with the Penfolds Victoria Derby Day that took place on Saturday, 30 October.

An average of 542,000 metro viewers watched the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Hitotsu, ridden by John Allen, win the $2 million Group 1 Penfolds Victoria Derby, Australia’s oldest classic race with a history dating back to 1855. 

Following two days of racing comes Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday, 4 November and Paramount+ Stakes Day on Saturday, 6 November, with all race days being broadcast live and free on Network Ten and 10 Play.

Last month, 10 Speaks Racing podcast launched with Felgate as host, who is bringing all the highlights from the Spring Racing carnival to the listener. Who is red-hot, who is not and everything in between. Joining Felgatel is form expert David Gately and Group 1 Winning Jockey James Winks.


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