One of the massive weeks on Seven in the biggest year of sport on TV…ever!


Seven’s head of sport Lewis Martin on Bathurst innovation and Sir Ian Botham

It’s a big call for Seven to claim they have the rights to the biggest year of sport, ever, on Australian FTA TV. But it’s hard to argue with Seven’s head of sport Lewis Martin when he details the sports schedule.

Look at what we have on one network – the Tokyo Olympics, Winter Olympics, an Ashes Tour, Supercars with Bathurst this weekend, an extraordinary AFL season, not to mention 52 weeks of horse racing,” Martin told Mediaweek. But that’s not all…

“There is the AFLW over summer, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and then the Commonwealth Games later in 2022.”


Lee Holdsworth on track for the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000

Supercars season climax

During the Bathurst 1000 this weekend, Seven and Fox Sports share the Supercars commentary of the race. Seven is otherwise mounting its own coverage of the pre and post-race activities, plus breakaways during the day with special features during the race.

“Our coverage will be on air across Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Martin. “The coverage will be led by Mark Beretta and Abbey Gelmi. We have Chris Stubbs in the pit lane, plus Jack Perkins and we also have Brad Hodge and Emma Freedman.” Martin explained that although he’s had an impressive cricket career, Hodge is a massive Supercars fan.

“What is important for us is that we tell the human story of racing.”

Martin also made special mention of the promos Seven has released to promote Bathurst 2021. He paid credit to Seven Motorsport executive producer Anna Stone for her work on the promos.

Seven’s head of sport Lewis Martin

Big brands go racing

“We have had a lot of success attracting big brands to our Supercars’ coverage,” explained Martin. “That includes Repco, Shannon’s, BP, Harvey Norman, Ford, Optus, National Transport Insurance, McDonald’s, Castrol and Boost Mobile.”

Helping Supercars 24% ratings growth on FTA this year is how Seven is curating the coverage.

This will be the first time on FTA for metro viewers that every single minute of the race will be broadcast.” Martin explained when Seven goes to an ad break they will keep the race coverage going via picture-in-picture.

Helping monitor the Bathurst weekend coverage will be 170 cameras across the mountain. A team of about 350 production staff are working this weekend across Seven’s horse racing, Bathurst and BBL.

Sunset chequered flag

The Bathurst 1000 won’t start until 12.15pm this year. Martin said he anticipates the finish will be around 6.45pm.

Seven then has a special treat for viewers to keep them on the channel.

“After the race we will go the Seven News and then into the first Big Bash League match of the summer.”


Cricket with Lord Botham and Ricky Ponting

The Big Bash League launches Sunday night on Seven. Key to Seven’s cricket coverage this summer is Lord Ian Botham. He will be working on the Big Bash on the weekend alongside Ricky Ponting on the first match.

“They will welcome viewers to the coverage of the Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Sixers at the SCG for the season launch.”

Looking after the cricket for Seven is executive producer Chris Jones. Martin noted both Anna Stone and Jones were key to Seven’s successful Tokyo 2020 coverage earlier this year.

cricket commentary

Lord Ian Botham and Ricky Ponting

Martin said Botham and Ponting will focus on The Ashes. “Where there is an opportunity they will also play a role with the Big Bash League as well.

“We have some real talent with the likes of 2019 Ashes fast-bowling hero Jofra Archer, ex-Test player and turned commentator David “Bumble” Lloyd, and former star off-spinner Graeme Swann who will all be coming on in the afternoons for what we are calling English Breakfast Tea.”

Martin explained those English broadcasters will be working remotely from the UK where they will be live in the studio. The name of the segment refers to the fact it will be early morning in London during the program.

Martin didn’t have any update about BT Sport in the UK taking the Seven coverage of the match for their UK audience. “We are more than happy to talk to them,” he told Mediaweek.

BT Sport is taking the Fox Sports coverage, but the inclusion of Michael Vaughan on the Fox Sports coverage is problematic for BT Sport. Vaughan has been linked to the racism controversy surrounding Yorkshire cricket.

Seven is hoping to have its cricket commentary team on-site when possible. “We are very mindful of Covid safety procedures, and we have plans B, C and D ready if we need to enact them. We don’t want to have any of our team marooned in cities.”

Cricket fans have been warming to Alister Nicholson who has been working for Seven on its WBBL coverage for the season just finished.

“His performance during Tokyo was spectacular,” said Martin. Usually a caller for the ABC, Nicholson did a great job covering the Hockey for Seven during the Olympics. “We provided a lot of people an opportunity during Tokyo and everybody grabbed hold of it, including Alister. We are going to give him more opportunity elsewhere on other sports.”

Martin said it was part of his duty to grow audiences for the sponsors here and now, but to also to develop Seven’s pool of talent. “I am constantly talking with Bruce McAvaney about the up-and-comers all the time,” Martin revealed.

The Seven commentary icon is still on air every weekend for Seven horseracing coverage on Saturday afternoons. Martin noted McAvaney will have a break soon and then be back preparing for the Commonwealth Games next year.

Team 7 Sport

Making sure Seven delivers to viewers is the team Martin has assembled: “The only way we can manage to cover it all is with the team of sports executives and producers who will do any job that is required at any time.”

Seven Motorsport executive producer is Anna Stone while the cricket is looked after by Chris Jones.

Seven’s executive producer of its 2022 Manchester Commonwealth Games is Kirsty Bradmore. Seven’s EP of Olympics is Nick Barrow. Seven’s EP of digital is Tara Carlon who looks after the sports coverage on 7plus.

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