Almost 350,000 fewer Australians tuned in to watch this year’s Melbourne Cup compared to last year, with it attracting the lowest volume of viewers since records began two decades ago.
A startling 345,000 less people watched Channel 10’s live telecast of the “race that stops the nation”, with 1.35 million viewers tuning in, compared to 1.695 million last year, according to OzTAM figures.
While the huge 20 per cent drop reflected the national average, the same trend was evident across five of the major capital cities, which attracted 16 per cent fewer people than last year.
In 2021, 1.213 million watched the race, while this year 1.024 million tuned in.
The only capital city to come out on top was Melbourne, where 8000 more people viewed the Cup this year than last year.
Viewers dropped in Sydney with 212,000 viewing the cup compared to 310,000 last year, while just 79,000 people watched in Adelaide compared to 89,000 in 2021.
In Brisbane, almost half of last year’s viewers tuned in with 132,000 people watching compared to 205,000 in 2021.
Perth viewership also dropped, with 73,000 people watching on Tuesday, down from 89,000 last year.
The Cup’s national audience has been on a steady decline nationally since Network Ten signed a five-year broadcasting deal from 2019 to 2023, taking over from the Seven network.
Ten’s online live broadcast also attracted fewer viewers that last year, with 152,000 people watching compared to 175,000 last year.
Some viewers complained online after the running of the race, which was won by Gold Trip, saying they had mistakenly turned Seven on, thinking it would be broadcasting the Cup.
Seven instead broadcasted Sydney’s Royal Randwick races, drawing ire from some who said they felt mislead by having multiple big racing events on one day.
Rights to the Melbourne Cup Carnival had been held by Channel 7 since 2002, before they were passed to Channel 10 for a five-year contract spanning 2019-2023.
Ten previously held broadcasting rights form 1978 until 2001.
The confusion drew comparisons between the two broadcasters, with some slamming the current coverage while others said they preferred it.