NRL, Tennis & James Bracey: “I can die happy!’”

“If you had said to me 2 years ago I’d be hosting Nine’s Rugby League coverage and the Australian Open coverage I would have said ‘That’s it, sign me up! I’m done, I can die happy!’” James Bracey confesses.

“Things change so quickly in TV. Who would have thought 6 months ago that Seven would have the Cricket and Nine would have the Tennis?”

Nine’s 100% Footy host was yesterday confirmed as one of three presenters for Nine’s upcoming Australian Open coverage, alongside Rebecca Maddern & Tony Jones.

Bracey has risen fast within Wide World of Sports ranks since joining Nine in December 2016. He had 13 years at SKY News covering Olympics in Vancouver and London and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. His gift of the gab has served him well.

“We had 8 channels in London so you were throwing from one thing to another.

“I’m lucky that I work in an industry where I can use something having always been a ‘talker.’ And I love Sport. So I can combine the two.

“I was 19 when I first started, producing Sport. I was writing out scripts for the Sports Editor at SKY News,” he recalls.

“When it grew as a channel I made my way onto the telly, hosting and producing my own stuff. 13 years later I had the opportunity to come across to Nine and do the NRL coverage.”

This year he was named as host of new Monday night show 100% Footy, State of Origin and NRL presenting and filling in as NRL Footy Show host during Erin Molan’s maternity. But he relishes the changes from Pay TV, despite its demands.

“There are a lot more bells and whistles in Free to Air television and a lot more pressure. Pressure in terms of making sure you get it right. There are a lot more eyeballs watching and you are very conscious of that, particularly when you are opening the State of Origin series and potentially there might be 4 million people watching you. You don’t want to be stuffing that up.

“But I thrive under pressure.”

While NRL Footy Show offers post-match analysis, Monday’s 100% Footy takes a wider view.

“Our key point is not to just review the week in Footy but to talk about the big issues. That’s why we have people like Phil Gould, Paul Gallen, Neil Breen and Ruan Sims to go hard, banter, argue, disagree… sometimes agree,” he explains.

But the new show also has an uphill battle with modest ratings as a new and late night offering.

“Our timeslot unfortunately is dependent on what’s leading in, which changes throughout the year. Sometimes it’s 9:45 and sometimes it’s 10:45,” he continues.

“One of the big strategies, particularly with the Tennis too, is digital. So we have the 9Now app where a lot of people are watching the next morning and social platforms. They might not be watching the whole show but excerpts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.”

As a Sports aficionado the challenge of NRL, now added to Tennis commitments and summer duties, is a mix he embraces.

“To be honest that’s a position I am very happy to be in for quite a while.”

12 Comments:

  1. He will do a good job.Seen him over the years on Foxtel and copes well with Live TV…Eddie is certainly very capable but working on radio,hosting The Hot Seat,The AFL Footy Show and calling games on Fox Footy and hosting on Friday nights in the studio, and the CEO of Collingwood he is just to busy

  2. Point taken on Seven using Johanna Grigg and Jim Wilson. Jim Wilson is known in Melbourne as he was a sports reader for the local news in Melbourne and Grigg has a high profile from swimming and Better Homes and Gardens.
    NRL footy show does not have a big following in Victoria. It will be interesting to see how it rates on Nine as the big bash on Ten regularly outrated or was at least competitive with the tennis when it was on Seven

  3. Interesting choice given the tennis is in Melbourne…never heard of James Bracey. Nine’s talent stocks must be limited in Melbourne for sports broadcasting…why wouldn’t Eddie Maguire host?

    • Johanna Griggs (17 years on it), Jim Wilson and Mel McLaughlin all Sydney-based people?
      It’s still a nationally popular event and can attract up to 1.2m in Sydney (as with the 2005 final). So a bit puzzled by that comment.

      Bracey is Nine’s main sport guy now (most would know him in Sydney and Brisbane), as David pointed out with the amount of shows he hosts, I’d say no doubt grooming him. In the same way Seven have been with Hamish McLachlan (and again, the opposite, most would know him in Melbourne Adelaide and Perth, a lot would know him in Sydney and Brisbane too as he’s been at Seven a lot longer and covered many national events but not to the same extent).

      Hence my point, got to have balance and especially satisfy Sydney and Melbourne as the overwhelming biggest markets.

      You wouldn’t just want Melbourne people on Seven’s cricket, they’ve got Mel, as well as Slater…

      • Point taken on Seven using Johanna Grigg and Jim Wilson. Jim Wilson is known in Melbourne as he was a sports reader for the local news in Melbourne and Grigg has a high profile from swimming and Better Homes and Gardens.
        NRL footy show does not have a big following in Victoria. It will be interesting to see how it rates on Nine as the big bash on Ten regularly outrated or was at least competitive with the tennis when it was on Seven

    • I don’t think Eddie McGuire would host Australian open as he is too Collingwood-centric. He hosted major sporting events like Vancouver 2010 & London 2012 and his ego was too big. But I would much prefer James bracey over Eddie.

  4. Not being a Sky News viewer, I didn’t know of Bracey when he came to Nine. I do miss Sampson, but he is an infinitely better host than Molan.

    When he was hosting The Footy Show, the show was still boring but tolerable. 100% Footy is what The Footy Show could be and certainly, The Late Show is what The Footy Show should be.

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