opera house everest race

Sydney’s commercial media outlets are among the biggest winners from Saturday’s Everest race meeting. In the weeks leading up to the race, three advertisers spent almost $900,000 on print, radio and television ads.

Marketing and media firm Ebiquity put the spend by betting agency TAB, the Australian Turf Club, and the Australian Jockey Club at $867,000, mostly in Sydney media, with much smaller spends in Brisbane and Melbourne, and smaller again in Adelaide and Perth.

The Sydney Morning Herald had almost daily ads, including four front and back page ads, in the two weeks leading up to the race. The Herald and The Daily Telegraph both carried wrap-arounds and lift-outs dedicated to detailed coverage of the race.

And that doesn’t account for the reams of news stories dedicated to the race over Racing NSW advertising the barrier draw on the sails of the Sydney Opera House. The race, in its second year, became almost a household name after 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones attacked Opera House boss Louise Herron on air over her decision not to allow the light show on the sails, and the New South Wales government then overruled that decision.

That news story was on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald in some form for five days running, and on The Daily Telegraph’s front page four days in the same period.

Media analyst Steve Allen said the furore had been far more valuable to Racing NSW than any money it spent on traditional advertising.

“It would have been so exceeded by the controversy,” Allen said. “They got millions upon millions of dollars of value from that controversy, and that’s only in Australia.”

He said that Events NSW would also be pleased with the overseas publicity for the event. “Events NSW is trying to make it a global event, and the offshore publicity is probably in the longer term even more valuable to them,” Allen said.

As we reported last week, the controversy was good publicity for the race, if not for Jones and the NSW government.

The crowd at the race was up almost 20% — to 40,578 — from last year despite miserable weather in Sydney on Saturday, and betting turnover was up 9%, according to TAB and corporate bookmakers who spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Peter Fray
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