The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has signed a landmark agreement with the Japan Racing Association (JRA) to broadcast the Emirates Melbourne Cup into Japan.
The deal will see the race that stops a nation broadcast live on JRA’s channel, the Green Channel, which will come to Melbourne to host its coverage from Flemington Racecourse.
The agreement will also allow wagering on the Emirates Melbourne Cup in Japan.
The formal agreement was recently signed by VRC Chief Executive Simon Love and JRA President and CEO Masayuki Goto at a ceremony in Roppongi, Tokyo.
Mr Love said it is hoped that stronger relations between the two clubs grow after the VRC’s trip to Japan.
“This agreement will see the Emirates Melbourne Cup beamed live into Japan for the very first time, allowing us to grow our exposure to a new audience.”
Mr Love said the Emirates Melbourne Cup joins the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as one the most important international races in Japan.
“This agreement between the VRC and JRA is significant because until recently Japanese have only been able to bet on Japanese races. This month we saw the extent of Japanese appetite for international racing, with fans betting approximately AU$52.6 million on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which was run shortly after 11pm Japanese time.”
It is understood the JRA will only allow betting on 25 races around the world, including the Emirates Melbourne Cup, if the individual race involves Japanese participation.
“Japan Racing Association is excited to bring prominent thoroughbred racing events around the world to Japanese racing fans, not only for viewing purposes but to participate in wagering on the race. We hope this new initiative of simulcasting overseas races will build interest among existing fans and attract a new fan base to thoroughbred racing as true international sports entertainment,” said Mr Goto.
The announcement comes as Japanese gelding Curren Mirotic arrived in Melbourne this afternoon ahead of next month’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Curren Mirotic is among the top-ten favourites for the race that stops a nation, and has now entered quarantine at Werribee.
Japan has a strong recent history of involvement in the Emirates Melbourne Cup, with the Asian nation claiming the quinella in the race in 2006, with Delta Blues winning from Pop Rock.
Visitation from Japan to the Melbourne Cup Carnival continues to grow, with numbers increasing almost eight-fold over the past three years.
Mr Love was also visiting Japan to attend a Victorian-Japanese alliance dinner hosted by the Premier of Victoria, the Hon Daniel Andrews.
Attended by 120 business leaders from Japan and Victoria, it was held to help build relations and showcase Victorian Major Events to Japan.