Fashion, Food and Betting: Melbourne Cup by the Numbers

It's a number cruncher's dream - the race that stops a nation, the Melbourne Cup, produces some remarkable statistics.

1. Fashion

In 2018, $62.9 million was spent on retail (fashion and grooming), while $35.4 million was spent on 357,928 individual fashion items, including 54,821 pairs of shoes, 49,559 dresses, 19,089 suits, and 55,433 hats and fascinators.

In 2015, it was discovered that 91 percent of women are willing to spend up to $200 on grooming for Melbourne Cup, and 86 percent admit to forking out up to $200 on accessories alone. In comparison, more than 70 percent of men said they would not spend any money on accessories - of those men who do, 76 percent would spend up to $200.

2. Food and Drink

In 2018 a whopping $29.26 million was spent on meals, food, and beverages in Victoria.

3. Betting

Last year, over $45.26 million was spent on wagering. On Melbourne Cup day there is a 20 to 50 percent increase on online betting platforms. Betting giant Tabcorp will record a turnover of more than $400 million during the Aussie racing week that starts with Derby Day in Melbourne. At peak times on Melbourne Cup day, Tabcorp’s systems process more than 3000 transactions a second.

The average spend per punter on the Melbourne Cup odds is approximately $8.50, of which $7.30 is returned in dividends. The record Melbourne Cup Trifecta dividend was a huge $61,867.90 paid out back in 1993.

And the state who bets the most money? NSW. The average amount gambled per person each year is $1200 — a mighty 22 percent above the national average.

4. Staff

Across the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival, there were over 21,000 staff and contractors employed by over 800 companies at Flemington.

5. Prize Money

The 2019 Melbourne Cup will have a total of $8 million in prize money, making it the world's richest handicap race. Only two other horse races offer more money than the Melbourne Cup - the Dubai World Cup (US$12m) held on the synthetic track at Meydan, and the Japan Cup (A$8.5m), which is held on grass.

The winner of the cup receives a massive $4.4 million in prize money. The winning jockey gets 5% of that ($220,000), and the trainers receive 10% ($440,000). Connections of the winning horse will receive 85% of the $4.4m – meaning they earn a whopping $3,740,000 for their horse's trouble.

6. Viewers

In 2018, over 1.84 million Australians in metropolitan areas viewed the Melbourne Cup on Channel 7, while over 2.7 million tuned in nationally.

In 2015, Channel 7 predicted that more than 90 percent of Australians over the age of 14 would watch the race that stops the nation. Figures show that just under three million people did!

7. Tourism

Data compiled by IER showed that 34.3% of attendance at the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival was from out-of-state individuals, including 20,308 overseas visitors coming from 31 countries. $31.3 million was spent on accommodation, while nearly eight thousand cruise ship passengers contributed over $10 million in added revenue.

8. State Economic Benefit

The Melbourne Cup Carnival contributed a record-breaking $447.6 million in gross economic benefit to Victoria in 2018 - a nearly 20% increase since 2014. Victoria Racing Club Chairman Amanda Elliott said that Cup Week "has a positive economic impact on Victoria that is unrivaled by any other sporting event in the nation".

9. Lost productivity

Countering the economic benefit, however, are reports and surveys from IBISWorld and Ranstad which estimate the cost to the economy in lost productivity to lie between 1 and 1.2 billion dollars, as the country shuts down for the big race.

It was also reported that 'sick days' jump by 25% the day after the Cup!

10. Social Media and Streaming

The 2018 Melbourne Cup was broadcast to 163 territories worldwide and for the third year was live-streamed to a global audience on Twitter and reached 2.4 million unique viewers. The Twitter hashtag #MelbourneCup also reached number one in seven countries

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