SBS has secured the rights to the 36th annual Mardi Gras, last seen on free-to-air television 12 years ago. It was most recently broadcast by Foxtel in 2011.
SBS 2 will screen a special event broadcast on Sunday March 2 at 8.30pm, showcasing spectacular floats, outrageous costumes and issues facing the gay and lesbian communities.
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said: “Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an iconic Australian cultural event, which celebrates diversity. In bringing this year’s event free-to-air to all Australians, SBS is delivering on its purpose to encourage all Australians to understand, appreciate and celebrate diversity and in doing so, contributing to social cohesion.
“SBS strives to act as a catalyst to encourage national conversations about social inclusion and we’re thrilled to have Mardi Gras as part of our programming line-up for 2014.”
Director of Television Tony Iffland said: “SBS 2 is about broadcasting relevant, creative and bold event television for younger audiences. Mardi Gras is a great fit and we are delighted that SBS 2, our channel for emerging cultures from across the world, will bring this event free-to-air to all Australians.”
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Co-Chair, Siri Kommedahl said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with SBS to broadcast Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014.
“As a channel devoted to cutting edge, culturally diverse programming, SBS 2 is the perfect home for Mardi Gras.”
Co-Chair Paul Savage said: “This partnership really amplifies the impact of Mardi Gras beyond Sydney and NSW, helping us to expand our reach and visibility into regional Australia and around the world, and allowing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex communities to communicate the messages and issues which are important to them to a far broader audience.
“Especially exciting for us is that this is far more than just a Parade broadcast – we’re working closely with the SBS team to showcase the breadth and depth of the entire Mardi Gras Festival, and to share the many stories of the dedicated and passionate people, communities and organisations that make it happen,” added Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik.