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May 1, 2020

COVID-19 has meant that like many industries, the Australian Turf Club (ATC) needed to pivot quickly and offer an innovative and digitally-led experience for racing fans, sponsor partners and broader customers to keep Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival front of mind.

The epidemic struck on the eve of one of Australia’s biggest and most iconic racing seasons where over 80,000 spectators had purchased tickets to attend major Group 1 racedays at Rosehill Gardens and Royal Randwick. By encouraging audiences to tune in to the Saturday broadcast and celebrate their racedays in a fun and socially responsible way at home through the #funofftrack and #fashionchute campaigns, more than 3.03 million organic impressions were achieved across website and social media channels for the carnival period.

While sharing creative tips (on occasion with sponsor brand integration) on how to create your own raceday celebration, the ATC also encouraged audiences to celebrate responsibly at home and to showcase this by uploading content using ATC and partner tags and #funofftrack with various prizes awarded.

The Star Championships Day 1 took a more fashion-led digital approach as we brought the popular Fashion Chute competition to life in living rooms with high-profile fashion, beauty and media-based judges, styling tips and prizes on offer for winners of the Ladies and Mens categories Australia-wide. This led to a year-on-year increase in participation by 45 entries, and a nationally engaged audience with over 150,000 impressions.

Other digital content programs such as ‘Behind the Barriers’ and ‘What Racing Means to Me’ involving behind the scenes content with jockeys, trainers and breeders, have also been created to help keep ATC Members and the broader community engaged.

Corina Black, ATC Executive General Manager of Commercial, said that swift adaptation, innovation and a digitally-led experience were key to keeping an engaged Autumn Carnival audience during an unsettling time.

“Unfortunately COVID-19 has and will continue to provide most businesses and individuals with a tough set of challenges, however the Australian Turf Club have been in a most fortunate position to host Australia’s only live sporting and entertainment event,” Ms Black said.

“The team quickly adopted a variety of digitally-led campaigns and ideas to help keep our audiences – from hard-core racing fans, ATC members, fashionistas and key sponsor partners such as Longines, Moët & Chandon, Lion, TAB, The Star, Schweppes and Bentley – fully engaged and entertained throughout the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.

“Looking at these results, coupled with the outstanding national broadcast growth, we’ve successfully managed to still deliver an exciting and engaging Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, even capturing the attention of a wider audience base, so we will continue to lead with innovative ideas, content and digitally-led experiences, as we look forward to the day where we can safely welcome patrons back on track for an experience like no other.”

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