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Corporate Sponsors and Partnerships are Central to the Melbourne Cup Carnival


Roughly 350,000 spectators gather at Flemington Racecourse each November for the Melbourne Cup Carnival thoroughbred horse race series. Countless more flock to Australia’s second most populous city to partake in festivities surrounding this week-long spectacle of sport, fashion, food and entertainment.

At face value, the Cup Carnival is exactly that: a carnival. One steeped in style and affluence, both earned and projected. With an emphasis on Instagram-worthy moments of haute couture and high culture, one could mistake this iconic spring tradition as a posh party where the occasional horse race breaks out easily.

But the party wouldn’t be possible without some significant marketing muscle flexing behind the scenes. In the Cup Carnival’s case, this means help from big brands.

In total, 35 corporate sponsors and partnerships are in play for the Cup Carnival in 2019. These strategic alliances range from a principal partnership with luxury automaker Lexus to major partners, official partners, event sponsors, media collaborators and a charity beneficiary.



Each race in the Cup Carnival series boasts a corporate giver. The Cup Carnival kicks off with insurance giant AAMI laying claim to Victoria Derby Day. Lexus grabs the marquee Melbourne Cup race on day two. Kennedy, a jewellery and watch retailer, sponsors Oaks Day on day three. Lastly, Seppelt Wines brings us Stakes Day, the series finale on day four.

There’s a little something for everyone on the Cup Carnival’s partnership list.

Are any millennials going alone? There is Bumble, a social media dating app, who is also a race-level sponsor. Any high-end hotel stayers? They have Sofitel as an event and program partner.

Even the Victorian Government and City of Melbourne are officially aligned with the Cup Carnival.

That’s no mistake. The diversity of industries and brands represented in the Cup Carnival’s partnership footprint offers access to virtually every demographic, giving both the event and sponsor benefits from exposure to widening audiences.

The day before the Cross Counter, the Oddschecker favourite to win the 2019 Melbourne Cup, enters the starting gate at Flemington on 5 November will be a state holiday. Yes, Cup Carnival fever has ingrained so much so in Victorian history and culture that it has warranted an official holiday since 1873.

When you think about it, there’s some powerful and timeless marketing afoot for a few thoroughbred races to achieve such longevity. In 2019, keeping the Cup Carnival tradition going means forging strong corporate sponsorships.


Image credits

Photo by Chris Phutully / CC BY 2.0

Photo by Chris Phutully / CC BY 2.0