MUNICH – More than a billion motorsport fans in Asia and Europe will be able to enjoy the excitement of the FIA World Rally Championship during 2015 after the completion of a series of high-profile television agreements.
The championship will return to terrestrial TV screens in China for the first time in recent years, while fans across the Indian sub-continent will be able to follow the WRC via both live and highlights programmes. New free-to-air deals have been agreed in South Korea, France and Norway.
The agreements have been completed by championship commercial rights-holder WRC Promoter and managing director Oliver Ciesla said they emphasised the global appetite for WRC.
“The recent demand for WRC coverage saw our audience rise by a third to 800 million viewers in 2014, based on key factors like the increased need for HD sports content and an enlarged offering of more than 80 hours of WRC programmes throughout the year,” he said.
“The exciting aspect of these, for the most part free-to-air, deals is that they include large-population countries with the potential for big audiences, like China, India and South Korea.
“Our live action programmes, especially the drama of the decisive final stage on a Sunday lunchtime, convey the excitement of WRC via breath-taking helicopter footage and fascinating onboard images. More and more of our broadcast partners devote their airtime to this live coverage, in addition to our daily highlights programmes,” he added.
The newly-announced agreements are:
China Central Television
CCTV is China’s free-to-air state broadcaster which is accessible to more than one billion viewers. Sports channel CCTV 5 will broadcast highlights from every round within 24 hours of the end of each rally.
In addition, a prolonged agreement with PPTV, a free-to-air internet channel, will see live and highlights programmes broadcast.
NEO Sports (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal)
Premier pay channel NEO Sports broadcasts in countries across the Indian sub-continent including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. It will broadcast at least one live special stage from each round and all highlights programmes.
SBS Sport (South Korea)
SBS Sport in South Korea is the free-to-air sports channel of national commercial broadcaster SBS. It will screen a minimum of highlights from all rounds and the end of season review. SBS Sport joins existing partners in the region which include J Sports in Japan, Truevision in Thailand and Astro in Malaysia.
L’Equipe 21 (France)
L’Equipe 21 is a free-to-air broadcaster in France which will also provide considerable exposure to WRC via its associated media networks in the home country of world champion Sébastien Ogier.
TV2, the largest commercial TV station in Norway, will join the WRC’s existing partners in Scandinavia including SVT in Sweden and Nelonen/YLE in Finland. TV2 and its TV2 Sport channels will broadcast a comprehensive range of WRC content across its free to air outlets.