An appalling situation in Australia showing a clear abuse of power by a major TV network. The Bathurst 1000 is a hugely popular motor racing event which has been broadcast live around the nation since it began in the 1960s. As a kid I used to park myself in front of the TV at 7.30am when the coverage started and not move until 5pm after the chequered flag had been waved. Only several beers on Saturday night stopped me from watching the live coverage in the UK in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The host broadcaster decided that making money from advertisers was more important than showing the race live, so what began as a live event, ended up nearly 30 minutes behind by the end of the race.
Channel Seven broadcasts finish of Bathurst 1000 30 minutes after race actually ended
THE Bathurst 1000 became the race that delayed a nation after Channel 7 put the advertising dollar before its audience.
Channel 7's "live" coverage of the Bathurst 1000 was so significantly delayed that despite the race finishing at 4.53pm, they were still "racing" on television until 5.20pm.
Angry motor racing fans bombarded social media sites to blast Seven's coverage.
The network's coverage of Bathurst started out live, but the broadcaster paused and restarted the action to suit its ad breaks.
Normally advertising is slotted in during lulls of the action to prevent delays, but this year Seven struggled to find space.
While Seven blamed the lack of safety cars, fans on Twitter pointed the finger back at the network for over-committing itself with advertisers.
A motor race lasting over six hours, and yet they couldn't find room to put the ads in?? Morons.
"The closeness of the race, the reduced number of safety cars in today's race, advertising commitments and our desire that viewers not miss a single moment of the race led us to time-shift our coverage," the spokesman told The Daily Telegraph.
Pretty naive to schedule ad breaks during safety cars when you have incidents like this spectacular crash which lead to replay after replay, followed by deep analysis about how it happened and how the driver managed to survive!
Currently, Australian residents are banned from betting online during sporting events, something which is standard fare around the rest of the world, and now accounts for more than 50% of sports bets with most online bookmakers. Imagine the outrage in the UK if a network tried to get away with this. It's bad enough in Australia when different states have different broadcast schedules (but still say 'live') or when Friday night football is broadcast an hour late just so the network can squeeze in plenty of ads, but when they start events as live and then dupe viewers into thinking it will remain that way while they squeeze as much as they can from their sponsors, that's outrageous.
I'm led to believe few sporting events broadcast on free-to-air networks in Australia are exempt from this, but Channel 7 is the prime offender. Corporate greed with no respect for their end customers, that's all it comes down to.
If you are ever going to bet on live sport, look for as many sources of 'live' information as you can - TV, radio (always the fastest broadcast medium), internet streams, Twitter and anything else you have access to for comparison. And don't forget watching the odds change - if they don't match your opinion of the event, then be suspicious. Remember it's your money, other people will be more than willing to take it off you and you never have to bet.