Nine Olympics

The announcement by Nine and the IOC on acquiring the rights to Paris 2024 up to the landmark Brisbane 2032 games, as well as all the rumors surrounding before the big day, made me think on working with on a plans for the Nine coverage for, at least, Paris 2024. I have been already at work on this since the start of the year, but have not had time to finish it in full.

First of all, I made a through look at how the Nine coverage plans would look like, in extreme detail and with a focus on the studio content and other platforms.

Nine Network
Nine’s overall coverage would be broadcast live from a studio in the IBC (Le Bourget, Boulogne-Billancourt), and run from 7.00pm until 11.00am the next morning. Coverage would be aired LIVE on all time zones, and would be also simulcast over DAB+ radio, 9Now and Stan; the Stan broadcast would feature raw behind-the-scenes footage instead of ads.

Ceremonies and Olympic Primetime (7-11pm AEST): Karl Stefanovic and Leila McKinnon
Karl and Leila’s strand would focus on summarizing last night’s top billing events, before switching to live coverage of the Paris morning session, focusing on events feature Aussie athletes, plus events featuring top billing athletes from around the world. Additionally, the strand will feature live analysis from Olympic formers and its team of announcers, plus Nine News, Today and Nine Publishing reporters would bring viewers the latest news in and around French politics and a sense of the color and energy of the event and France’s unique cultural spectacular through field items. The tone would be light-hearted, but with emphasis on the sporting coverage rather than entertainment.

Karl and Leila would also comment the Ceremonies, together with broadcasting legend Bruce McAveney and a one-off appearance from Ken Sutcliffe. The commentary team will also include a university professor in order to allow commentators to inform viewers on French culture context. Commercial breaks during the ceremony would have a split-screen format to avoid delays, which would include also an avail enticing viewers to subscribe to Stan Sport.

Olympic Overnights (11pm-5am AEST): Roz Kelly and Todd Woodbridge
Roz and Todd will host the overnight strand, which would feature most of the day session, with a focus on Aussie athletes, top-flight athletes and, specially, shorter-form events, in order to bring a diverse number of events throughout the slot. Back in the IBC studio, expert commentators would join the presenters as the live action unfolds. New augmented reality and immersive mixed reality graphics profiling key competitors and venues would give the studio presentation an immersive storytelling edge. There will be no roving and/or news reports throughout the strand.

Olympics Today (5-9am AEST): Tony Jones and Brett Phillips
The Paris night session will strictly focus on top-flight events, including athletics, swimming, gymnastics and many others. There will be also news slots throughout the strand, given it will replace Today during the duration of the Games. Alicia Loxley from Melbourne would provide these short bulletins, with Tim Davies still bringing the weather.

Rendez-Vous Paris (highlights show, 9-11am AEST): James Bracey
The morning strand would air live events which are running late, but would mostly serve as a highlights package, with all the high-profile events from the Olympic Games and a particular focus on the Aussie athletes. During the first four days of the event, the strand would be extended to the afternoon, due to the surfing competition taking place in French Polynesia.

Acting as secondary channel, 9Go! would also be a part of the plans for Paris, with live and delayed coverage of full events. The channel’s following with younger audiences would be reflected in its event selection, focusing on alternative sports (climbing, breakdancing, skateboarding, basketball) targeting that particular audience, and studio content would be looser, including hosts using more causal wardrobe. 9Go’s coverage will origin from GTV and TCN, with Danika Mason, Nick McArdle and Emma Lawrence serving as studio hosts.

9Gem would focus on longer-form sports (soccer, tennis, volleyball…) and would serve as overflow in case Nine or 9Go! can’t cover a particular sport due to overruns or existing commitments. There will be no studio programming, but WWOS hosts would be working on-stadium introducing each strand over the day.

9Now/Stan Sport
9Now will offer, alongside the three linear channels of Olympic coverage, an additional five streaming-only curated channels which would offer “every Aussie, every gold” live. These eight channels would be available on Stan Sport too, plus raw and world feeds of every event, with all content being commercial-free on Stan Sport.

2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR
Selected events would be inserted through each station’s regular schedule. For example, if an Aussie athlete is tipped for gold, Ben Fordham’s show would be interrupted in order to bring the live audio simulcast of the moment; regardless of the outcome, Fordham would follow-up with commentary and analysis from WWOS pundits, plus live phone-ins.

Other Radio
Nine would team up with SEN to license parts of the coverage, allowing SEN to air all the events in full. As part of that, SEN and Nine would also launch a DAB+ channel offering a live audio simulcast of Nine’s coverage, which would be repeated during off-hours.

Nine Publishing
Nine’s newspapers would offer daily, exclusive pull-outs offering news and schedules of the Games, plus special offers enticing readers to subscribe to Stan and also Olympic-related products. would have a special Olympic section with updated editorial content, whilst also tying in with its digital brands, offering color and culture-focused stories.

Over on the Random Mocks forum, I posted how the IBC set would look like. It is still not finished. Still lurking over some minor details, and I hope to share the final version as soon as possible.

For the design, I have decided to deliberately forgo with any kind of cliché elements related to the host city and nation. Instead, I decided to look at contemporary French design and its unique, clean TV set designs to create a timeless and very unique design that can be reused for future editions of the Games. I have decided to place a video wall on the set, but, unlike Seven’s recent efforts, other surrounding elements are placed around it, including references to French design and fashion. The desk platform would be revolving, and around it, I placed the Electric Friends tower cameras which are very popular currently; this will allow the studio cameras to be remotely controlled from the NEP Docklands Studios in Melbourne, whilst also allowing for seamless AR and mixed reality elements.

Finally, I am also preparing a set of graphics for the coverage, which would also take cues from French contemporary design. Worth noting that Nine wouldn’t use the OBS graphics for its studio content, in order to offer a unique design reflective of the host city and nation.

More ideas on production and coverage plans are set to follow too.