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NSW racing authorities will re-open talks with the TAB-owned Sky Racing after splitting with fellow TVN shareholders in Victoria.

Talks between Sky and TVN, which holds the media rights to racing in both states, broke down a week ago and Sky has been unable to show racing in NSW and Victoria in TABs, pubs and clubs.

TVN is jointly owned by the Australian Turf Club, Victoria Racing Club, Melbourne Racing Club, Moonee Valley Racing Club and Country Racing Victoria.

Racing NSW also has a presence on the board.

“I think it’s fair to say discussions (with Sky) will be ongoing from next week,” ATC chief executive Darren Pearce said.

“Our first priority is to work through with the TVN shareholders how we manage the separation and how we look after a lot of the good people who work there financially and try to keep them in the industry.

“There’s strategic discussions that need to go on.

“There’s a genuine focus from the TVN shareholders to work through the separation and make sure all the commitments are met and then we will worry about the future after that.”

The racing industry relies on wagering revenue, mostly from the TAB, for its income.

Sky Racing had been operating on short-term agreements with TVN but last week declined to extend the contract.

Pearce’s southern counterpart, RV’s Bernard Saundry, said in a statement that although RV was not a shareholder in TVN it had a responsibility to the state’s racing industry.

“It is a great disappointment to RV that due to the increasing misalignment between how Victoria wants to grow our sport and the differing views of Racing NSW, that there is no other option but to accept the proposal to disaggregate our state’s rights from TVN,” Saundry said.

“The Victorian Thoroughbred Racing Industry is completely united in how it will manage its media assets from here on.

“As a group, we will now be able to get on with pursuing an aggressive growth strategy working with aligned partners and acting in the best interests of our participants.”

The RV statement said the presence of Racing NSW on the TVN board had proved a stumbling block and weakened the position of the ATC.

“The strategy to expand TVN’s scope with the acquisition of NSW country and provincial media rights led to the addition of Racing NSW to the TVN Board from December 2012,” the statement said.

“This has unfortunately resulted in a two-year period of disruptive governance and tension amongst shareholders that has crippled TVN and led to today’s disappointing announcement.

“Through the aggregation of NSW country and provincial rights into TVN, Racing NSW was able to secure two spots on a total board of eight.

“As most decisions of commercial importance required a vote of acceptance by at least seven of the eight, Racing NSW effectively secured negative control over the commercial operations of TVN.

“Furthermore, Racing NSW has a NSW government-backed authority to veto any media deals for the ATC and NSW metropolitan racing. This has sadly weakened the ATC Board’s ability to manage its own media rights and shareholding in TVN.”

 
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