Blog post
November 7, 2019

Melbourne Cup 2019: Who were the real winners and losers?

The 2019 Melbourne Cup is done and dusted and we look back at the key trends that were shaping the conversation on social and traditional media channels.

Year on year, negative sentiment surrounding the Melbourne Cup increases. There is a rising concern for the welfare of horses on and off the track and is slowly overtaking the attention of the glitz and glamour seen track side.

Australians are increasingly torn with upholding the traditions of an inherently conservative sport and attempt to maintain a hold on their moral compass. The Spring Carnival continues to spark protests and heighten public consciousness. All with a growing sense of indifference. 

Sentiment in the media

After analysis, traditional media is heavily involved with horse racing, yet social media shows public opinion about animal cruelty is a dominant topic.

An influx of handles were created in protest; #NupToTheCup was widely used with 1,411 mentions predominantly across social, 26 per cent of these mentions had negative sentiment. 

During the period 4 October to 4 November 2019 other handles #HorseRacing returned 2,938 mentions, #Horseracingkills 412 mentions and #AnimalCruelty returned 351 mentions across social, broadcast, online and press.

Keyword ‘Melbourne Cup’ returned 31,795 mentions across print, broadcast, social and online. From the below chart, the sentiment split is quite defined. Sentiment towards the Melbourne Cup is predominantly neutral at 67 per cent, followed by negative at 30 per cent. 

The captured data suggests 2019 is to be remembered as the beginning of the end for the Melbourne Cup.

Sentiment coverage of keyword ‘Melbourne Cup’ from period 4 October – 5 November 2019

The racing industry

Despite the compulsive Melbourne Cup observance, it’s argued the racing industry still thrives as a significant contribution to the economy. Evidence supports the Cup still playing an important role in Victoria’s sporting and social calendar and the industry is a significant asset for the state.

The ‘race that stops the nation’ has elevated from a niche sporting event to a national symbol. Animal rights protestors are more vocal each year, causing a shift in sentiment about the event. Essentially, when a nation changes, so too must the event.

Increasing concern about the welfare of retired horses and a string of deaths on the track. Six horses have died during or as a result of the Melbourne Cup since 2013. This has amplified concern around animal cruelty, instigating protests in various states.

If you’d like to understand the media lens on any topic, brand or audience, get in touch with us today.

Louise Wallace
Louise Wallace
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