Series stikes new UK TV deal

New TV deal gives UK WRC fans more coverage than ever before

Fans of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) living in the United Kingdom will have the chance to watch more coverage of their sport than ever before thanks to a new television deal announced today (Wednesday 12 January).

ESPN, the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company, has reached an exclusive agreement with North One Sport, the promoter of the WRC, to show the sport in the UK.

The deal will provide motorsport fans with 4.5 hours of programming per rally -- the most extensive season-long coverage of the WRC to date -- with even more content appearing on ESPN's multiple media platforms, such as ESPN Classic and ESPN.co.uk.

The coverage will begin on 2 February with an hour-long documentary 'Road car to rally car' which follows the development of the new MINI World Rally Car and includes exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.

Each of the 13 events will be previewed in a one hour programme, 'Rally World', starting on 2 February with a look ahead to the season opener, Rally Sweden, which begins on 10 February.

Thirty minute highlights programmes will be screened in the evenings of all three days of a rally, and the following week rally fans can watch 'Access All Areas' -- a one hour look at the event showcasing the best of the action, in depth features and analysis.

ESPN will bring new elements to WRC broadcasting, including live studio-hosted coverage of the new 'Power Stages' for up to 13 rallies (and on a same-day delay in cases of schedule conflict).

Additionally in 2011, ESPN Classic will feature 30 one-hour WRC archive programmes, as well as two brand-new documentary programmes, and ESPN.co.uk -- ESPN's UK online sports portal -- will provide news and video highlights online.

Simon Long, CEO of North One Sport said: "This is a pioneering TV agreement, not only in the UK but globally. It brings the exciting prospect of more coverage, fresh programming and more promotion than ever before. The combination of the innovative content, production and digital promotion that ESPN offers combined with our revamped sport is extremely good news as we seek to reach out to new fans in the UK."

Specific production details for ESPN's coverage are in development and will be announced in the run up to the start of the WRC season.

WRC joins ESPN's growing stable of multimedia motorsports content and coverage, which includes live or delayed television coverage of DTM, FIA GT1, Superleague Formula, F3 Euro Series, VW Scirocco R-Cup and NHRA Drag Racing, as well as the ESPNF1.com -- the online and mobile site providing 24/7 year-long coverage of F1.

"WRC is a superb, dynamic product with a fervent following a growing legion of enthusiasts, and fits extremely well as a key part of ESPN's growing portfolio of motorsports from across the UK and Europe," said Jeroen Oerlemans, vice president and channel manager, ESPN -- Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

-source: wrc

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Series WRC