Countdown to Tokyo: Seven finds brands still have massive Olympic appetite


Seven’s Big Wednesday: Two days before Opening Ceremony will be massive – here’s why

There are just nine days to go until Seven broadcasts the first Olympic events. Two days before the Opening Ceremony, Seven will be broadcasting softball and football, including a match featuring the Matildas on Wednesday night.

Seven is calling it Big Wednesday with some justification. It will also be the day the winning bid for the 2032 Olympic Games is announced. “The winner is Brisbane” is what many will be hoping to hear.

But wait…there’s more. Seven will also broadcast the final of The Farmer Wants a Wife season two on Wednesday night.

Seven West Media chief revenue officer and director of Olympics Kurt Burnette told Mediaweek the Tokyo Olympics had not been without its challenges. “It’s not often you get the chance to do two Olympics in 12 months and I hope we never do again.

“We had some sponsors who pulled out last year and others who came on for this year. One category which was challenged was travel and we lost a couple of sponsors there. For some others the timing of the change just didn’t work.

“When you look at the sponsors, 60% of the clients with us for Tokyo are different to those in Rio in 2016. It just shows you how much brands and the ad market is changing.

This time we not only have big partnerships and sponsorships, but there are smaller packages, some of which are still available now, with digital only options from $10,000 through to other packages worth multiple millions.

“Because of the way the Tokyo Olympics will be covered we have opened it up for more brands to be a part of the Games. We are able to better understand how the audience is moving from broadcast to digital which allows different entrants into the marketplace as people choose to take a digital-only or linear only option or a combination of both.

There have been some really brave marketers and it will pay dividends for them as they are part of a significant moment in time.

“This will be the biggest digital event in Australian media history.”

Seven Olympic hosts Hamish McLachlan and Abbey Gelmi

See also: Seven unveils Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 partners + national & local sponsors

Burnette said Seven will exceed the record revenue it wrote for the Rio Olympics.

The financial impact of the games means Seven starts off the new financial year with a cracking quarter July to September.

“It’s good for television too because the TV market is booming again into the first quarter,” said Burnette. “We also get to launch our new shows like The Voice and SAS Australia and it promotes our winning 7News proposition.”

Short term opportunities

Burnette said at the start of every Olympic Games there has always been some inventory still available. “We have always sold multiple millions of dollars during the games. With things like border closures and other Covid impacts, people are making late decisions on campaigns.

“We are placed very well with the Tokyo Games and we have hit our budget number. That talks to the wonderful job our team has done, but also how in a world of fragmentation, the Olympics remains so strong. We can deliver a guaranteed mass audience and targeted audiences via digital.

VOZ is here

During the games Seven will be able to share what Burnette called “one holistic metric” with a combination of linear and digital with a de-duplicated total. “It will note co-viewing (people watching together) and give a true total reach of broadcast and digital together.”

Seven Olympic hospitality

Burnette has been to many of the 12 Summer and Winter Games. As a young sales executive he started with Seven in 1990. He made it to the 1996 Atlanta Games, but on his own dime when he stopped in on the way to his wedding in England.

He was of course on hand for Sydney 2000 and most of the subsequent Olympic events.

Although Seven won’t be taking advertising partners to Tokyo, it has set us hospitality facilities in Sydney and Melbourne, and will take people through the studio set-up in Melbourne when possible.


There will be more addressability than ever for brands using the Olympics. Using Seven’s data stack on 7REDiQ (using data from Mastercard, Ticketek and Flybuys) this is the first time Seven will use targeting on connected televisions. About 65% of the digital streams on 7plus come through connected television.

7ACT will further the premium ad experience by allowing brands to insert dynamic QR codes into video assets.

Burnette: “We are going to use VOZ to measure broadcast and digital and we are working with Adgile Media who are able to do real time tracking of the broadcast and digital ads and then track that back directly to any online behaviour.”

How to watch

There will be plenty for people looking at the Tokyo Games on Seven linear channels Seven and 7mate. For those who want more there will be 45 digital channels to access on 7mate. That will include the broadcast channels of course, plus dedicated channels for all Olympic sports.

Hosting will come out of Seven’s Melbourne studios on a new set that recently arrived from overseas.


Burnette: “The 7plus product has been built from scratch and this is the first time the Olympics has been inside 7plus. For Rio we had a separate standalone app built by third parties.”

Consumers can make a watchlist of sports that will be updated every time they visit 7plus. Personalisation even lets users choose a specific language for subtitles if they wish.

7plus already has a portfolio of 16 live channels including a live Olympic Channel that has been running for some time.

All the Olympic sports channels are also ready to go and currently have on-demand events on offer.

“We are aiming to get 11m registered users.” The broadcaster only turned on mandatory sign-on for live streaming from 7plus two weeks ago. Burnette reminded Mediaweek the Tokyo Games will be completely free after there was a paywall experiment as part of Seven’s Rio 2016 coverage. is also an online destination for Olympic news, updates and insights.

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