Melbourne Cup marquee numbers down

The global credit crunch has taken its toll on the Melbourne Cup carnival corporate marquees for the second consecutive year.

melbourne cup Marquee numbers in the exclusive birdcage area at Flemington Racecourse are slightly down on last year, while corporate marquee numbers are also lower, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) says.
VRC general manager of sponsorship, Brendan Ford, would not give figures on the number of marquees but said sponsorship revenue was at the same level as last year.
"The numbers are slightly down but all of the main sponsors have returned to the birdcage," he told AAP.
"Given the year we’ve had economically and the global financial crisis, we are actually pleasantly surprised."
Mr Ford said corporate marquees had made budget but the club had expected the number of hospitality packages to be less this year.
"Companies that have had retrenchments, or haven’t performed as well, or suffered a bit from the economic slowdown, are choosing not to come," he said.
There were 46 marquees in the birdcage last year after peaking at 53 in 2007.
The total number of corporate marquees in 2008 was 236, slightly less than 2007.
L’Oreal continues to be a sponsor but will not return to the birdcage after pulling its marquee last year, although the cosmetic giant’s popular powder room will remain.
Moet and Chandon has also not returned to the birdcage but remains a club sponsor and the exclusive supplier of French champagne to thirsty punters.
Promoter Andrew McManus Presents will not have a marquee this year but continues to book talent for the VRC’s official events, Mr Ford said.
Luxury car Saab is also a notable drop-out after it ended its sponsorship deal with the VRC.
Official watch sponsor Longines continue to sponsor a race on Derby Day but have chosen not to go ahead with a marquee this year, Mr Ford said.
Meanwhile, communications company Cisco and wealth management firm UBS have replaced Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Grand Hyatt in a shared marquee, he said.
But Mr Ford said there were signs the economic recovery was filtering through to Cup-goers, with some companies making last-minute decisions to snap up corporate marquees in the past two weeks.
"That’s highly unusual for this time of year, usually that is well and truly done and dusted by early September."

By Michelle Draper