MEDIA RELEASE: The 2016 FIA World Rally Championship will be screened in more than 150 TV markets following the confirmation of a series of major global broadcast agreements.
The championship’s cumulative worldwide audience has risen by 27 per cent* since 2013 and a mix of new agreements and the renewal of existing partnerships will strengthen fan access to WRC this season.
Championship rights holder WRC Promoter has increased the series’ global broadcast hours by 55 percent* in the last three seasons, emphasising the continued demand for WRC coverage.
WRC TV offers a comprehensive suite of HD programmes from which broadcasters can choose, featuring a magazine-style event preview, daily action highlights, an hour-long post-event report and live stages from all 14 rounds showcased by the crucial Sunday lunchtime Power Stage which closes every rally.
In addition, news updates highlighting the latest action and results are produced and issued twice daily during every WRC round.
“Not only do we have new TV partners for WRC in 2016, but existing broadcasters have chosen to renew agreements for another term,” said WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla. “It shows both they and the fans enjoyed what they saw in recent seasons and want more.
“It’s a big vote of confidence in our TV operation and encourages us to move forward with exciting new projects, such as the use of high-tech drone filming under a new co-operation this year with DJI.
“We’re particularly delighted by our agreement with LeTV in China. Alongside Rally China’s return to the championship for the first time since 1999, it’s a great opportunity to grow WRC in the world’s most populated country where interest today is still at a relatively low level,” he added.
Key broadcast partners joining or renewing for 2016 include:
Belgium – Telenet joins as a new partner, offering comprehensive coverage on its Flemish Play Sports network. It joins RTBF which broadcasts WRC in French in top driver Thierry Neuville’s home country.
Britain – for the first time free-to-air network Channel 5 will air WRC, with subsidiary Spike airing pre-event magazine programmes. BT Sport continues to show WRC’s full package of shows on pay TV with S4C returning in Wales. It adds up to the most comprehensive UK coverage in recent years.
China – new partner LeTV creates anticipation ahead of Rally China’s championship return in September in a region where WRC has a low profile.
Finland – extended contracts with Nelonen and YLE in a country where rallying ranks in the top five of the country’s most popular sports.
France – Agreement with free-to-air L’Equipe 21 delivers strong audiences in the home country of triple world champion Sébastien Loeb.
Japan – long-term deal with J Sports has been renewed, building excitement ahead of Toyota’s WRC return in 2017.
Latin America – long-term partnership continues with Fox Sports.
New Zealand – extension of coverage on Sky NZ, complemented by new free-to-air highlights shows on TV3 and TVNZ.
Spain – Telefonica has prolonged its deal for a further long-term period to offer the full package of WRC programmes.
Sub-Sahara Africa – long-term agreement continues with Star Times.
Sweden – renewed agreement with SVT which, along with TV2 in Norway, provides strong free-to-air coverage in Scandinavian rally strongholds.
A full list of broadcasters is available on the championship’s official website at www.wrc.com