Entain, a global gambling company, is reportedly looking into the possibility of acquiring direct access to an Australian free-to-air TV channel in order to target Australian audiences. This strategic move is aimed at broadcasting racing events, exploring synergies, promoting gambling products, and challenging the monopoly of Tabcorp-owned Sky Racing. The company’s previous broadcasting experience is expected to provide substantial benefits and help leverage a potential agreement.

According to a recent report by the Australian Financial Review, Entain, which owns well-known wagering brands such as Ladbrokes and Neds, approached major commercial networks including Seven, Nine, and Ten several months ago. The proposal involved inquiring about the potential creation of a new platform for broadcasting greyhound, harness, and thoroughbred racing.

Industry insiders claim that Entain offered approximately $8 million per year to rent a channel, with Network Ten reportedly being the closest to reaching a deal. While no agreement has been finalized, the move signals an attempt to diversify broadcasting options. If successful, the model would be based on the Racing.com channel, which was initially a joint venture between Seven Network and Racing Victoria.

However, in order to manage a dedicated free-to-air channel, securing racing rights is essential. Entain has previously struck a 25-year deal with New Zealand TAB, aiming to expand the audience and provide NZ racing with a more substantial presence in Australia. Success with the company’s newest media venture in the region would break Tabcorp’s control over the broadcast of state-based racing and bring significant dividends.

The potential benefits of a successful multichannel deal for racing are significant. This could be a strategic move for betting companies and TV networks to navigate an anticipated crackdown on online gambling advertising. A parliamentary inquiry has recommended a complete ban on internet gambling ads, which could significantly impact media companies’ revenues. Diversified marketing options should shield Entain from such a crackdown and improve marketing opportunities.

Entering the free-to-air TV space could give Entain a significant edge in the Australian market. Tabcorp’s Sky Racing Channel, which offers content similar to Entain’s preferred offerings, is only available via Foxtel and the Kayo streaming service. A free-to-air entry by the gaming giant would disrupt the current status quo and reach broader audiences.

Exploring a multichannel deal is part of Entain’s broader reorganization initiatives. The company is undergoing a significant strategic realignment, accompanied by ongoing high-level management reshuffles. This newest expansion into broadcasting aligns with Entain’s ongoing efforts to diversify its operations and strengthen its position in the evolving wagering and broadcasting landscape.

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