Good news! MotorMartin loves a bit of Motorsport: E.g. MotoGP, F1, WEC and WRC for a start. But after watching Ken Block on YouTube it has become clear that there is a whole new Championship that MotorMartin has not witnessed before. How can that be?
MotorMartin has been told by the FIA World Rallycross Championship that their races are head-to-head, short, sharp racing on mixed surfaces (dirt and asphalt) contained within amphitheatre venues. That their high profile drivers are equipped with RX Supercars with over 600bhp and the ability to accelerate from 0-60mph in less than two seconds. Crikey. World RX debuted in 2014 with a 12-round calendar including events in Argentina, Turkey, Canada and throughout Europe. An expanded series was confirmed for 2015, with new rounds at Formula One venues Hockenheim in Germany and the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. In 2016, an all-new city race will be held in Riga, Latvia. Race meetings include a number of short, sharp action-packed qualifying heats with the most successful drivers progressing through to the finals. If this all sounds as exciting to you as it does for MotorMartin then I recommend you follow the link below and have a look at the official website: www.fiaworldrallycross.com
So why share this news and Championship with you? Well, for those of you out there that are reliant on Freeview™ channels for your entertainment you now have access to this exciting new Motorsport. Arriving on the desk at MotorMartin towers this morning was the news that the FIA World Rallycross Championship, presented by Monster Energy and operated by IMG, will be broadcast live and in full for the first time on free-to-air television in the UK and Ireland in 2016. Excellent news and welcome in this day and age when, it would appear, most sport is available only to those with subscription services. Quest has secured a deal to broadcast all 12 Championship rounds live on Sunday afternoons. In addition, the highlights show will be available to watch on ITV4 the following Tuesday evening and on Eurosport.
Unfortunately MotorMartin completely missed the coverage last year on Quest as they broadcast the highlights on Monday evenings with the final round in Argentina shown live on the channel but this year, ITV4 – part of the ITV network – who have not shown rallycross previously, have agreed to air World RX Championship highlights at 8pm on Tuesday evenings. Eurosport has committed to broadcast World RX highlights for the third year in a row. Rather excellent news for the sport, its sponsors and supporters with the increase in visibility and global reach that exposure on TV brings.
Quest have informed MotorMartin that they are available on Freeview channel 37, Sky on 144 or Virgin on 172. ITV4 can be viewed on Freeview channel 24. Eurosport 1 is available on Sky channel 410, Virgin Media 511 and BT TV 412. Eurosport 2 is on Sky channel 411, Virgin Media 525 and BT TV 413.
Simon Downing, SVP Head of Channel Quest, commented to MotorMartin: “It is incredibly exciting to bring live coverage of the entire World RX season to Quest in 2016. The championship has proved increasingly popular with our viewers. Adding comprehensive coverage of all the action this year ignites our sports offering yet further.”
Niall Sloane, ITV’s Head of Sport, also added to MotorMartin: “Bringing the best of the FIA World Rallycross Championship action to our viewers free to air in a lively highlights show is another exciting addition to our portfolio of motorsports on ITV4.”
The back slapping and appreciation continued with Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluding: “We are delighted that two separate broadcasters are taking our rallycross coverage in 2016 – the appetite for free-to-air broadcasters who are keen to televise our sport is clearly growing. Having had a regular highlights slot on Quest last year, we were pleased to see the growth in viewing figures as the season progressed. To have ITV4 and Eurosport take our highlights package is excellent as it allows fans to watch delayed coverage if they miss the live broadcast. Swedish public service broadcaster SVT has already committed to showing World RX live and it’s fantastic that the UK and Ireland have now followed suit and are also showing rallycross on free to air TV. We expect to announce some more terrestrial TV deals in the upcoming months.”
It just remains then to recommend that both Quest and ITV4 are supported in their continued endeavours to keep, at least some, Motorsport on Freeview™ and for that, should be applauded.
Where will you go?