Channel change for race station

IMAGES of the Avon Valley will be beamed into television sets across Australia as part of Network Ten Perth’s commitment to local events and the WA Tourism Commission.

The national broadcast of the Coates Hire Avon Descent in August will boost both the profile of the sporting event and WA as a tourism destination.

The broadcast agreement with Network Ten Perth and the Avon Descent Association ends the event’s 28-year association with Channel Nine Perth.

Network Ten Perth general manager Kel Robards said Network Ten Perth supported a range of local events and charity organisations including the Coates Hire Avon Descent, Wet Dreams Masters and Telstra Rally Australia.

“Network Ten’s target demographic, people 16 –39, is an ideal fit with The Coates Hire Avon Descent and provides Ten with a high-community profile,” Mr Robards said

In conjunction with the WA Tourism Commission, Network Ten Perth will also broadcast a series of postcards on the Swan and Avon valleys as part of the coverage of the event.

Avon Descent chairman Kevin Harrison said the postcards would showcase the natural beauty of the area.

“When we go to a commercial break we’ve made an arrangement with the television station to slip in some local footage, it’s put there in amongst the commentary on the race to show shots of the Avon and the Swan valleys,” Mr Harrison said.

The national broadcast of the whitewater classic will further strengthen the profile of an event, which just two years ago was facing bankruptcy.

“The Avon Descent lacks the support that other major sporting events like Rally Australia enjoy,” Mr Harrison said.

“Rally has a team of 10 people full-time, whereas the Coates Hire Avon Descent is staffed by a group of volunteers.”

Mr Harrison said the entire structure and culture of the Coates Hire Avon Descent needed to be reorganised to assure the future of the event.

“We think one advantage of the Swan River is that it’s never going away,” he said.

“We’re slowly building a series of events around the Avon Descent.

“Last year we had the Northam Festival and a WAFL football match at Toodyay.”

Major sponsor Coates Hire have been involved with the Avon Descent from the very first year when they arranged lighting and equipment for the overnight camp sight just outside of Toodyay.

Coates Hire WA and Indonesia’s Rob Lowry said when the event faced an uncertain future, Coates Hire offered financial support.

“When it was in financial difficulties we stepped in with cash – as did the State Government ,” Mr Lowry said.

“And since then it’s grown stronger and stronger.”

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