Channel 10 bans Bruce in Cup powerplay
Channel 10 is reportedly going to great lengths to ensure TV icon Bruce McAvaney doesn't draw any eyeballs away from its Melbourne Cup coverage in 2019 and beyond.
McAvaney, a staple of Channel 7's racing coverage and long-time host and caller of the race that stops the nation since rejoining the network in 2002, waved goodbye to the Cup after this year's broadcast. Channel 10 has secured the TV rights to the race for five years, starting next year, and it wants to make sure nobody goes searching elsewhere to get their McAvaney fix on the first Tuesday of November.
While Seven has released its grip on the Melbourne Cup, Racing.com will share the rights with Channel 10 next year as it is still allowed to share its coverage via digital streaming and on Foxtel.
Racing.com is a partnership between Channel 7 and Racing Victoria and McAvaney headed the channel's coverage of the Adelaide Cup this year. He indicated he is keen to continue his involvement in the South Australian capital but Ten is reportedly determined to make sure his influence doesn't shift into Melbourne during Cup carnival time.
According to 3AW and decidertv.com, to make sure people tune into Channel 10, the network has reportedly included a clause in an agreement with Racing.com that prevents McAvaney, and fellow presenter Hamish McLachlan, from hosting the channel's coverage of the Cup.
According to the report, the unusual action is seen as a sign Ten is nervous punters could be tempted to tune into rival coverage if McAvaney is at the helm. The drastic move is a way of safeguarding its $100 million, five-year investment in the race meeting, which goes over four days every year.
Speaking before this year's Melbourne Cup, won by British raider Cross Counter, McAvaney reflected on what it would mean for his long association with the famous race to come to an end.
"There will be a little bit of sadness at the end of the day," McAvaney told 3AW. "I'm staying with Seven until I retire and I think I'm getting pretty close to that.
"This will be the last time I work on a Melbourne Cup. It's a little bit irrelevant in my mind right now, but I'm sure in the months to come and this time next year, I'll be climbing a wall somewhere and wishing I was front and centre, but I've had a pretty good run I reckon."