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Border restrictions bring broadcast shakeup to Supercars

Simon Chapman

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Monday 10th August, 2020 - 3:27pm

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Jessica Yates (left), Mark Skaife, and Neil Crompton will present Supercars’ coverage remotely

Jessica Yates, Neil Crompton, and Mark Skaife will not attend the forthcoming Supercars round in Darwin, instead, presenting the Fox Sports coverage remotely from Sydney.

Craig Lowndes will also miss the double-header in Darwin. He has opted to stay home in Brisbane after his son suffered a motocross accident.

Riana Crehan has been a notable omission from Supercars broadcasts of late in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but returns in Darwin after missing the most recent events in Sydney.

Crehan will present on the ground at Hidden Valley Raceway alongside fellow pit lane reporter Mark Larkham.

“We’re in a bit of a first for Supercars TV with this event, it’s a bit of an unusual one with people split across different places,” Nathan Prendergast, Supercars Media General Manager Television and Content, told Speedcafe.com.

“Because of the border restrictions, we had to keep people like Jess Yates, Neil Crompton, Mark Skaife in Sydney.

“It’ll be the first time MS and Crompo will have missed racing in a long, long, long time.

“What’s going to happen is all the hostings and commentary will be added in Sydney at Fox Sports.

“We’re still going to be cutting all the races in Darwin and sending them to Sydney like we normally would on a normal feed, and then they will add the commentary in Sydney before it goes to air.

“All the between race hostings, which are normally hosted at the venue we sometimes do from a garage or a studio, that’ll all be done from Fox studios in Sydney.”

Channel 10 will broadcast the first event in the Darwin double-header, the BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown.

Andrew Jones will be onsite for Channel 10 and Supercars at Hidden Valley Raceway.

Presenters Kate Peck and Scott Mackinnon will be supported by former Supercars full-timers Michael Caruso and Will Davison who will report remotely.

Prendergast will direct the race broadcast onsite while Brian Forshaw will direct the studio integration from Sydney.

Prendergast said the set-up for Darwin presents a significant challenge.

“It’s enormous, it’s a gigantic comms challenge in itself,” said Prendergast.

“Just think about the level of complexity as you’re doing that 5000km apart from each other in a real-time environment.

“It’s enormously challenging. We’ve basically had meeting after meeting with our broadcast partners and our OB (outside broadcast) suppliers about how we come up with new systems and utilise all those technologies to make this work.

“There are some big challenges. We’re confident we’re going to be able to deliver a seamless race product and I think having the hosts in Sydney will be quite a different look.

“Apart from the lack of Neil and Skaife from being able to walk up and down the pitlane, it should still deliver the product that everyone has come to expect.”

Yates, Crompton, and Skaife will also miss the double-header in Townsville unless Queensland revokes its hotspot declaration for New South Wales.

Prendergast said he anticipates a normal broadcast for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 8-11.

“Unless something happens remarkably with the border situation between New South Wales and Queensland between now and Townsville, if that changes and we can get people out of New South Wales we will go back to a more traditional broadcast,” Prendergast explained.

“It’s really border dependent, and at this stage pretty much we have to keep the crews separated for now.”

Fox Sports, Kayo, an Channel 10 will carry coverage of the BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown on August 15-16.

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