New TV deals for UK rally fans
January 23, 2015
By Colin Mann
As the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo gets under way, the sport’s chiefs and UK broadcasters ITV and BT Sport have revealed that fans of the FIA World Rally Championship in Britain will receive improved television coverage of the series after both ITV4 and BT Sport agreed new deals for 2015.
Both networks will broadcast comprehensive coverage from all 13 rounds of the championship, beginning with the ‘Monte’. Welsh language network S4C will also report on the series.
The WRC has enjoyed increased interest in Britain over the last 12 months as fans focused on the fortunes of Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke and Welshman Elfyn Evans.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence for our sport that both broadcasters were eager to renew their commitment to WRC for 2015,” said Oliver Ciesla, managing director of commercial rights holder WRC Promoter.
“WRC Promoter has developed new TV programmes during the last two seasons, especially Sunday’s live TV Power Stage, and the feedback we have received from both ITV4 and BT Sport during our negotiations have been extremely positive,” he said.
ITV4 will broadcast an hour-long highlights show following each round in a prime-time Tuesday evening slot, with additional daily programmes from the final round at Wales Rally GB (12 – 15 November).
The highlights programme will be repeated the following Saturday and ITV 4 has also committed to increase online coverage at www.itv.com.
BT Sport has renewed its agreement following a successful collaboration in 2014 which peaked with BT Sport presenter and ambassador, the former England test cricketer Graeme Swann, driving at Wales Rally GB for a documentary.
It will broadcast live stages from all 13 rounds, as well as event previews and post-rally highlights shows. Additionally, it will bring fans various programming from Wales Rally GB later this year.
BT Sport will also step up its coverage by screening classic archive programming featuring former British world champions Colin McRae and Richard Burns.