Rocky lands van-tastic deal

Stephen Wright stands outside the distinctive Sky Communications van at Callaghan Park, a set-up described as the cutting edge of technology.
Stephen Wright stands outside the distinctive Sky Communications van at Callaghan Park, a set-up described as the cutting edge of technology. Allan Reinikka

ROCKHAMPTON has been chosen as the base for Sky Racing's north Queensland outside broadcast (OB) van which houses state-of-the art equipment including the highest quality broadcast technology.

Custom fitted and featuring more than 20 visual monitors as well as a maze of audio and computerised equipment, the van will house three operators on race days to ensure it showcases Rockhampton racing throughout Australia and the world.

"This means that Rockhampton is one of the racing centres that will benefit from the latest cutting edge technology," Sky Racing's chief operating officer Brendan Parnell said.

Fully equipped, the van is valued at $2 million and from its Rockhampton headquarters will be driven to Mackay, Townsville and Cairns to facilitate the coverage and production of TAB race meetings in those centres.

Those four clubs, particularly the first three, comprise the central and north Queensland provincial TAB-clubs racing circuit which means the van will service as many as three meetings some weeks.

Parnell said the OB would be the catalyst for providing more consistent and improved coverage of racing in the centres from where it operates.

Two OB vans will be based in south-east Queensland providing similar coverage of racing there.

The launch of the OB vans follows Sky Racing and Racing Queensland Limited signing-off on a 10-year deal for Queensland's thoroughbred media rights.

"The vans will deliver rich and vibrant pictures of regional and metropolitan Queensland racing into millions of homes in Australia as well as more than 5000 TAB venues and to our international partners," Parnell said.

Vision and audio from the van's six new cameras was used for the first time in Rockhampton at last Thursday's Callaghan Park race meeting and the reaction to the vastly improved pictures was immediate and most positive.

The three OB vans form part of a $30 million investment and commitment from Sky Racing in Queensland over the next eight years with that figure covering infrastructure and employment.

Sky Racing's Steve Wright has been appointed the senior outside broadcast production manager for north Queensland and he has moved from New South Wales to take up residence in central Queensland.

Wright has a background in race video technology and has been a long-time employee of Sky Racing.

He said he was looking forward to his new role.

"The production of race coverage will now be world class at the four tracks we will service in central and north Queensland," he said.

"Punters and followers of racing on Sky will notice a significant difference in the coverage from now on. We will also be able to supply state-of-the art graphics and real time wagering data through the OB. I am really excited about the whole concept."

Sky Racing broadcasts 82,000 thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races a year through its three channels; Sky Racing 1, Sky Racing 2 and Sky Racing World.

Topics:  horse racing north queensland sky racing

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