Racing Queensland has prioritised an improved nationwide television coverage in its negotiations for a new media rights deal.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has also urged that whoever wins the media rights provides an increased coverage of Queensland races.
The media rights involve television coverage of Queensland racing with Sky Channel currently the provider.
A decision on a new media deal has to be made by June with Sky Channel, Racing.com, free-to-air, or a combination of all three being considered.
There has been a consensus in Queensland that the local product is playing second fiddle to the secondary NSW meetings in particular on Sky’s premium channel.
Matters were inflamed last weekend when complaints were made the Eagle Farm coverage was cut short to accommodate the Tumut meeting in NSW.
An RQ spokesman said the negotiations were mainly two-fold.
“As well as being focused on maximising an immediate uplift in direct media rights revenue, a priority is to ensure the distribution and showcasing of Queensland’s racing product is significantly improved with fair and consistent coverage” he said.
The spokesman said an expanded free-to-air offering which has presently been restricted to just five days per year, was being sought.
“Over the past decade, there has been a significant change to the global racing and wagering market, with the landscape now markedly different to when the state’s thoroughbred rights were last available,” he added.
Hinchliffe has been keeping abreast of the situation in recent months.
“I understand Racing Queensland are in the process of finalising a new media rights deal. Whoever wins the rights, I am assured it will seek a much fairer deal for coverage of Queensland race meetings,” he said.
Brisbane Racing Club chairman Neville Bell said the club had fielded many complaints in recent months about the current presentation of Queensland races.
Bell said the coverage was one of the main topics in the media rights negotiations.