Mediaweek Industry Awards 2018: Best Sports Event Coverage

• Find out the winner for Best Sport Event

The final of our three sporting award categories and again there were no suggested nominees.

It would seem that Mediaweek readers favour the work of Fox Sports and Seven who were both represented in each of the three categories.

Winner – AFL Grand Final (Seven)

Many of the people who voted for Bruce McAvaney as Best Commentator no doubt also wrote down Seven’s AFL Grand Final coverage here.

For 2018 Seven announced it would make history by live-streaming the AFL Grand Final on select connected TVs for the first time.

Fans were able to watch the stream via Telstra TV, Apple TV, Fetch TV, PlayStation 4 and compatible Android TV devices, which together account for over 70% of Seven’s connected TV live streaming.

At the time, Seven West Media’s chief digital officer Clive Dickens said: “The announcement marks another ground-breaking landmark in the rapid evolution of Australian live and free-to-air television online.

“Watching Seven on connected TVs has exploded since we launched 7plus, making us the number one commercial FTA live streaming BVOD operator in the market, and it is only right that we give our audiences what they want – the biggest and best sporting final of the year on more of the screens of Seven.”

Those streaming numbers weren’t counted in the OzTAM audiences for what became the most-watched TV event of the year. The actual post-game presentation attracted the single biggest metro audience of the year – 2.616m (3.334m national). The Grand Final game between West Coast and Collingwood was not far behind though on 2.615m metro (3.392m national).

The biggest national audience of the year however was for Nine’s evening coverage of the NRL Grand Final – 3.444m.

Along with commentator Bruce McAvaney, Seven’s team on duty during the MCG Grand Final were Hamish McLachlan (host), Brian Taylor (commentator), Wayne Carey (expert commentator), Cameron Ling (expert commentator), Daisy Pearce (boundary rider) and Matthew Richardson (boundary rider).

Second place: Bathurst 100 (Fox Sports)

For its race coverage in 2018, Fox Sports again carried a dedicated 24/7 Bathurst Channel.

It also broadcast the race in 4K for the first time and also ran the entire race free of ad interruptions throughout the 161 laps.

Race day coverage started at 7.15am Saturday ahead of the race starting at 11.10am.

The Supercars commentary team in 2018 was anchored by Neil Crompton and Mark Skaife, who were joined during the broadcast by Jess Yates and Russell Ingall. Mark Larkham joined the pit lane commentators Greg Murphy and Riana Crehan in 2018.

Third place: Australian Open (Seven)

This result is a vote of confidence in Seven’s last year as broadcaster of the Australian Grand Slam tennis event.

Seven lost the rights during 2018 when cricket and tennis swapped their FTA homes. Seven still had the rights to 2019, but on-sold them to Nine after it won the FTA cricket rights.

Although there was no Bruce McAvaney at the tennis this year, Seven didn’t hold back with at least 24 hosts and commentators on duty across the fortnight at Melbourne Park.

In addition to live and exclusive match coverage on Channel 7, 7TWO and 7mate, fans were able to watch via the 7Tennis app.

That online coverage in 2018 through the 7Tennis app allowed fans to:

• Live stream all of Seven’s coverage of the Summer of Tennis from Channel 7, 7TWO and 7mate.
• Choose up to 16 courts at the Australian Open.
• Go behind the scenes and into the press room
• Re-live the best moments, match highlights and watch exclusive interviews.
• 7Tennis also offered fans a premium level for a one-off fee of $14.99 (data free for eligible Optus mobile customers) to access:
• Selected full match replays.
• More than 600 matches live streamed in HD.
• No pre-rolls before getting to the action.
• After the tournament ended, Seven claimed a record OzTAM VPM live streaming record with 10.6m streaming minutes viewed on the final day of the tournament.

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