After a 2014 season dominated by the series’ promoter’s attempts to revamp the format, the World Rally Championship can take solace in a 35% increase in TV audiences from 2013 to this year’s series.
The latest incarnation of the rally series saw Sebastien Ogier seal his second title at the Rally of Spain with a round spare.
Impressive on the track, but so too are the numbers. New figures issued by sports marketing research company Repucom for the first 10 rounds of the championship, up to and including Coates Hire Rally Australia, show a large rise in both audience and broadcast time compared with 2013.
Total audience across the 10 rallies rose by 35 per cent to 581.81 million viewers, while broadcast time increased by 70 per cent to 7275 hours.
Most regions saw notable audience increases in comparison to 2013, including Central and South America (+ 155 per cent) and Europe (+ 34 per cent).
Of those ten rounds, the most impressive stats come from Rallye Monte-Carlo as it took the largest audience to date with 86.75 million viewers.
Another round to impress was the Rally of Finland. The round had the highest broadcast time of 880 hours.
In the third quarter, the round was watched on TV by an extra 30 million fans to last year’s broadcast and similarly, the Rally of Deutschland gained an extra 22 million viewers and the Rally of Australia brought in 18 million more.
WRC Promoter managing director, Oliver Ciesla, said the upward trend was ‘hugely encouraging’ and maintained the excellent progress in growing WRC’s media audience across all platforms.
“Increased broadcast hours confirm broadcasters’ appreciation of the WRC programmes we produce and demonstrate we’re meeting the demand for live sport in HD format,” he said. “The figures show our emphasis to deliver live stages at regular times, such as the Power Stage at midday on a Sunday and Thursday evening city stages, are welcomed by viewers and attract new fans.”