ITV Sport have extended the rights to the World Rally Championship, this blog can confirm. The broadcaster will screen every round of the championship via highlights form on ITV4 in 2014.
An ITV spokeswoman informed The F1 Broadcasting Blog: “I can confirm that we will be showing the highlights in 2014.” After many barren years in the UK, this is more good news for the championship which is attempting to rebuild its profile in this country. ITV first secured the 2013 rights back in March after the first few rounds were left without a broadcaster, which shows just how far the series profile plummeted.
According to unofficial overnight viewing figures, television ratings have ranged from 70,000 viewers to 200,000 viewers. The final round of the season, the Wales Rally GB averaged 110,000 (0.6%). While obviously this is a land away from its peak – you have to start somewhere, and being on ITV4 means that the profile is automatically significantly higher than other multichannel’s of this world.
Furthermore, I have reached out to ITV asking if there are any plans to screen any of the championship live. I will post a response underneath if and when I receive confirmation. In the meantime, a list of non-exhaustive broadcasting contracts for 2014 can be found here.
Update on December 16th – ITV have further commented: “I can confirm we will only be showing the highlights of the World Rally Championships. There will unfortunately be no live coverage by ITV.”