Seven West Media and the extended Australian media industry is in mourning following the passing of veteran sports broadcaster Gary Fenton.
Mr Fenton, an influential television executive with decades of experience in programming, production, and sports broadcasting, held several senior positions at the Seven Network, including Head of Sport. He played a crucial role in securing Seven’s broadcast rights for multiple Olympic Games and was the Chief Operating Officer for the Sydney Olympics Broadcasting Organisation during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
His impact on the Australian media industry was invaluable and long-lasting.
Managing Director Seven Melbourne and Head of Network Sport, Lewis Martin said: “Born and bred in Melbourne and totally consumed by all sport on offer in this great city, Gary Fenton made a profound contribution to international sport and the global broadcasting of sport at the highest level.
“When commissioning television drama series, sketch comedy or footy theme songs, his instincts guaranteed success and touched the hearts of audiences everywhere.
“Gary leaves behind a legendary career and a legion of friends and colleagues around the world who respected his judgement and thoroughly enjoyed his company. Gary loved and cherished his family as much as they loved and cherished him. They are all in our thoughts today. Vale,” said Mr Martin.
Bruce McAvaney OAM, said: “Gary Fenton had a profound effect and influence on a legion of people in the television industry and I’m one of them. He brought me back to Channel 7 in 1989 and his guidance was crucial to the way I worked. He re-shaped the way the International Olympic Committee negotiated media rights and he should be lauded as the driving force behind the worldwide television coverage of the Olympic Games in our country, in Sydney 2000.”
Gordon Bennett OAM said: “Today I lost not just a colleague but, more importantly, a friend of over 43 years. Gary was the best friend and colleague I could ever wish to work with and our years together at Seven Network Sport have given me a wealth of memorable experiences.
“The enormity and scope of Gary’s contribution to the Australian television industry, in both the entertainment and sporting fields, cannot be overstated. He was a driving force in Seven’s AFL coverage through the 1980s and 1990s. Working with Gary on Olympic Games and other major sporting events at home and around the world, I believe we set new standards for how these events could be presented for Seven viewers.
“His knowledge and ‘smarts’ engendered the utmost respect by sport and television industry leaders worldwide. His achievements are unlikely to be matched in the future. Gary will be greatly missed by all who knew and understood him.”