A new role with “expanded tools” helped lure Mark Larkham back to the Supercars TV team after being dumped last year.
The popular pundit, renowned for whiteboard technical explainers, was axed from the coverage team last year, shortly after a new TV deal was signed with Fox Sports and the Seven Network.
But the decision sparked a furious response from fans, forcing Supercars to swiftly put a backflip in motion.
It’s understood Larkham was initially cool on a return, only warming to the idea after the Christmas break.
According to Supercars CEO Sean Seamer, it was through discussing new ideas for an expanded role that Larkham was able to be wooed back.
“The first thing was that we waited until the new year and I spent some time speaking to Mark directly about the situation, about the fan response, about what we would like to try to do,” said Seamer.
“Not to speak for Mark, but I think he would agree with me that actually we had a lot of good ideas that we would like to see translate into the broadcast.
“I think he’s energised by some of those ideas and so am I.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on Mark, any more pressure than he is already going to put on himself, but we wanted to try and weave Mark in in a way that it wasn’t just Larko coming back.
“It’s going to be new, different, and giving him expanded tools to do what he does really well.
“Again, not speaking for Mark, I think that was a big part of his decision to come back.”
The initial decision to axe Larkham came as part of a push to make the Supercars coverage less technicals more appealing to casual fans.
Seamer, however, says the extent of the ‘dumbing down’ has been overplayed.
We were never radically changing it,” said Seamer. “And I’m not sure personally where the narrative around dumbing down the broadcast came out.
“On the contrary actually, we have spent a lot of time on the new graphics package trying to include more data.
“I spoke to Larko about this as well, how do we integrate the technology and the data and convey that to the audience in a powerful way. It’s not about dumbing it down or simplifying anything.”
The full broadcast line-up for 2021 is set to be unveiled in the coming days.
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