ITV4 secure World Rally Championship rights

In what can only be described as fantastic news, ITV4 have secured the rights to screen the World Rally Championship. Round 3 highlights from Mexico will air on Tuesday 12th March at 17:50.

Considering the fact that WRC’s trajectory in this country has headed south in recent times, this should provide a much needed boost to the sport’s popularity in this country.

I have reached out to ITV for an official comment, and have also asked whether this is a one-off deal, or if this is for the remainder of the season.

Update on March 3rd – ITV have today responded to my request for comment: “We only have rights to the highlights programmes and I can see that there are only 3 episodes. The one on the 12th March which is Mexico and there are 2 others but there is no schedule or location information attached to them at this moment in time. That isn’t unusual though as our schedules only show confirmed information for up to 10 days in advance.”

The way I am reading that is that it is a short term deal, to cover Mexico, Portugal and Argentina up to the beginning of May on the basis that there are three episodes. Alternatively, the other two episodes may be Mexico repeats. The e-mail does not give much away at the moment, if there is a deal in place for the remainder of the year, I would expect something to be made official in the next week.

Update on March 11th – Following rumours this past weekend, ITV have today told me: “We have been advised that we are due to transmit highlights from the rest of the season, which will be shown on Tuesday’s following the weekend event.”

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2 thoughts on “ITV4 secure World Rally Championship rights

  1. It’s funny, rallying was never a good television sport, yet in the past it got pretty good numbers on the BBC, but season after season as it was tweaked more and more for TV, the viewers actually dropped.

    A bit like the BTCC, on the BBC it had higher ratings because the races were longer and not manipulated, the audience has now halved along with the race length and its credibility.

  2. Wish someone from WRC or ITV would just come out and give a clarification on the whole TV situation. Have seen claim and counter claims that they will/will not be showing it.

    This from the Sport on the Box blog appears to back your latest update:

    An ITV spokeswoman confirmed to SOTB: “I can confirm that ITV4 have secured the highlights rights for the World Rally Championship for the remainder of 2013 and will be broadcasting one-hour of highlights early on Tuesday evenings (1750 on 12 March for the Mexico highlights) with a repeat on Saturday mornings (1000 on 16 March).”

    Let’s hope this news turns out to be true as the WRC desperately needs terrestrial coverage in the UK!

    Great blog and keep up the excellent work.

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