You could be forgiven for thinking this has been a year to forget for WRC Promoter. We’ve had shortened rallies, postponed rallies and canceled rallies. But here’s the thing, the three rallies we’ve had, have produced some of the strongest viewing figures in the history of the World Rally Championship.
The WRC’s global television audience grew by 15 per cent in the first three rounds of the season, with broadcast time increasing by 28 per cent in the first quarter of 2020.
Independent analyst Nielsen Sports has calculated 242 million people watched Monte Carlo, Sweden and México. That’s 31 million more than the same events last season.
Finally, a reason to smile. People are watching and people are loving the World Rally Championship.
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said: “The first-quarter TV figures indicate a fabulous start to the 2020 series and highlight the continued increased global interest in WRC. Driver transfers brought further unpredictability and excitement as the pilots settled into their new teams and cars.
“The COVID-19 virus has, of course, heavily impacted our season since the opening three rounds. However, WRC TV continues to produce magazine programs and ‘best of’ shows for our global broadcast partners until the cars can run again.”
But what do those numbers mean to the manufacturers? More good news, that’s what they mean, with Nielsen’s data demonstrating a combined media value in excess of €150m across those three rallies.
* The WRC Promoter team was further strengthened on Friday with the news that former factory World Rally Championship co-driver Peter Thul will join the team as senior director, sport. Thul will work out of the promoter’s Munich office and liaise with teams, crews and the FIA.