Mardi Gras returning to ABC

After 8 years on SBS, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade returns to ABC in 2022.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is returning to ABC as part of a new three year deal until 2024.

The 2022 event on Saturday March 5 will be held for the second year running at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 5 due to COVID-19 restrictions, but at 100% capacity -it returns to Oxford Street in 2023.

It will screen at 7:30pm on both ABC and iview. SBS has screened the event for the past 8 years.

The ABC has also been given broadcast rights to WorldPride, to be held in Sydney in February and March 2023.

The 2022 theme United We Shine signifies that “when we band together, we shine brighter. It is a rallying call to stand up against hate and inequality, reminding us that when we rise as a collective, our message of love and inclusion is heard louder.”

ABC Managing Director, David Anderson said he was delighted the ABC would once again be host broadcaster of the Parade. “This is a homecoming for Mardi Gras. The ABC was the first broadcaster to televise Sydney Mardi Gras in 1994. We’ve waited 28 years for it to return and from 2022 onwards, we will provide coverage of Mardi Gras that only the ABC can, without commercial interests.”

“It is important that wherever you are in Australia, you have the opportunity to take part in this significant cultural event and can celebrate the diversity that exists in Australian communities,” Mr Anderson said. “For us to be able to reflect Australia’s LGBTQI+ community to themselves and to the whole country is incredibly important.”

ABC Chair, Ita Buttrose said: “Who else but the ABC can do justice to Mardi Gras? The decision to first broadcast the Parade in 1994 paved the way for other media to cover the event and since then the ABC has been proud of its support of the LGBTQI+ community in Australia.

“We are the natural home for Mardi Gras, no-one else can take this event to so many Australians in so many places and in so many ways.”

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO, Albert Kruger, said: “We’re thrilled to have the ABC join us as our broadcast partner for the next three years. Our national broadcaster has been a longtime champion of LGBTQI+ communities, and we are proud to partner with such an icon of the Australian media landscape whose values and ethics align with our own. We look forward to working alongside their talented and committed team to amplify the diverse voices of our LGBTQI+ communities, as well as share our stories with the rest of the country.”

The CEO of WorldPride, Kate Wickett, said: “When WorldPride comes to the Asia-Pacific in 2023, Australia’s national broadcaster is the ideal broadcasting partner to amplify our LGBTQI+ culture and community. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, with Sydney WorldPride is coming home to where it belongs. I would like to thank and acknowledge ABC Chair Ita Buttrose for her unwavering support and advocacy for our LGBTQI+ communities throughout the decades, in particular for taking a leading role as a national voice of health messaging during the AIDS crisis.”

The Mardi Gras Parade will be broadcast on the ABC’s Main Channel, ABC iview and on ABC Australia on Saturday 5 March 2022 starting at 7.30pm live from the Sydney Cricket Ground. The ABC will also feature LGBTQI+ content on triple j, ABC iview, ABC Radio Sydney and local radio around the country and on ABCQueer.

The ABC has long-championed on-air representation of the LGBTQI+ community in Australia. In June 2020, the corporation released its Five-Year Plan reaffirming its commitment to LGBTQI+ Australians as part of its diversity strategy, including people from diverse cultural, geographical and Indigenous backgrounds, and people with disability.

In 2020 The ABC launched its first LGBTQI+ Instagram channel ABCQueer for young, queer Australians and earlier this year was awarded Gold Employer status at the Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards.

4 Responses

  1. How efficient is it having two public broadcasters duelling over the same event? ABC and SBS should be complementing not competing with each other over the same rights. Is ABC having to pay more $$$ than SBS to secure the rights? Given that SBS was able to subsidise its coverage with limited advertising it would be interesting to see if this new deal is ultimately costing the taxpayer more.

  2. Certainly having no advertising breaks is appealing and was one of the complaints of the SBS broadcast that parts of the parade were missed due to ad breaks. Though their coverage and efforts over the years has been greatly appreciated, including moving towards a live broadcast format for free-to-air.

    Rage also has an annual Mardi Gras special so I suppose it would tie in with that. Though the biggest complaints about the Rage Mardi Gras Special is that they show a lot of the same songs every year. I know there’s only so many LGBT+ themed music videos but they can dig deeper into the archives or could import some content from record labels or from overseas.

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