SINCE Gerry Harvey, John Singleton and Robert Ferguson bought the Gold Coast's Magic Millions in 1997, the carnival has gained momentum both in Australia and overseas.
"Just the involvement of three of Australia's most famous businessmen made an major impact in the public awareness of Magic Millions in business circles and in mainstream media," says the event's marketing and media manager Annie McDonald, .
"The past six years have been outstanding," she says, adding that buyers and punters come from 32 countries - including New Zealand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, the UK, the US, West Malaysia and Zimbabwe.
"Marketing on an international scale involves extensive and very direct contact with target markets. It involves a lot of international travel and special clients functions, in addition to extensive media campaigns and targeted advertising across all mediums," says Ms McDonald.
"The nature of the event makes it almost impossible to conduct an Economic Impact Study, but the government has quoted around the $50 million mark."
She says buyers spent almost $100 million in January this year - "and that's just the bloodstock they bought!"
"All the hotels report 100 per cent occupancy for a two-week period in early to mid January and the restaurants, retailers and other businesses would experience huge benefits," she says.
In its 21st year last year, the event offered races with prizemoney of more than $4.93 million. Although the company is best known for its Gold Coast Carnival, Yearling Sale and race day each January, it is only the tip of the iceberg.
"Private sales are conducted every day of the year, whether it is the private sale (not at public auction) of million-dollar horse flesh to eager buyers off-shore or the fulfilling of major export orders to countries requiring bloodstock for racing and/or breeding," says Ms McDonald.
"Magic Millions offices in Adelaide, South Australia, and Perth, Western Australia, also conduct year-round monthly and private sales and Magic Millions has agents based internationally in South Africa, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Korea."
The 2005/2006 sales season was deemed an extraordinary success for Magic Millions, the company sales aggregate topping $213 million in thoroughbred sales for the year.
"This is an increase of 27.8 per cent, up from the previous year's record turnover of $167 million," says McDonald.
The Magic Millions company was also a Tourism Award Finalist in the 2005 Australian Export Awards.
Next year's event promises to be bigger than ever, with sales extended to eight days of auction and the carnival extended to 19 days - from January 1-19.
Gerry Harvey and John Singleton are still involved and attend a lot of sales throughout the year.
Ms McDonald says Magic Millions runs imore than 30 sales a year in Australia and overseas.