Race club & Twitter ink agreement to live stream Melbourne Cup

By @vitthernandez on
Jockey Michelle Payne
Prince of Penzance ridden by Michelle Payne (green cap) wins race 7 the Melbourne Cup during the Melbourne Cup race day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria November 3, 2015. Reuters/Hamish Blair

Technology comes to the 155-year-old Melbourne Cup with the signing of an agreement between the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) and Twitter to stream the 2016 race on the popular microblogging site. That means the prestigious race could be viewed in real-time on Nov. 1.

Herald Sun reports that the hour-long broadcast would at 2:30 pm, AST, to be produced for VRC by Seven Network, the holder of the rights to the sporting event in Australia. It is the first live streaming deal inked by Twitter outside the US.

Besides the one hour broadcast, the agreement includes 30 minutes of build-up and post-race commentary and analysis.  The live stream would create a “one-screen experience at the centre of the action unlike any other,” Jonathan Harley of Twitter Australia says.

The Emirates Melbourne Cup would make live streaming and sports history as the first professional sporting event Down Under to be live streamed on Twitter, VRC’s Nick Addison says. He adds, “By leveraging the power of Twitter’s enormous real-time platform for reaction, commentary, analysis, and more, this partnership will provide viewers the opportunity to watch Seven Network’s exceptional production and interact with the action on and off the track as it happens live on smartphones, tablets and computers.”

In 2015, Seven had its own free live streaming services to partner its TV coverage, the company is using in 2016 its resources to provide the stream for Twitter. It is unknown if Seven would continue the services of live streaming providers it tapped in 2015 for Nov 1.

But fans of the race would miss seeing female jockey Michelle Payne, the Melbourne Cup 2015 winner who rode Prince of Penzance, after she was banned from riding by Racing New South Wales for holding a dual training-and-riding licence in Victoria, Sydney Morning Herald reports.

While racing authorities allow dual licence holders registered as a jockey and a trainer to ride in Victoria, South Australia and some parts of Queensland, Racing NSW disallows dual licence holders to ride since the club only recognises them as trainers.

In defense of the organisation’s police, Marc Van Gestel, chief steward of Racing NSW explains, “The reasons are stated in our policy but on race day there is a clear difference in responsibilities for jockeys and trainers and Racing NSW feels you do one job or another.”