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ITV retakes WRC highlights rights in the UK

(Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has acquired highlights rights to the FIA World Rally Championship from 2020 to 2022, bringing coverage back to the broadcaster for the first time since 2015.

It will show highlights of each of the 14 rounds of the championship in the week after each round, with the show mainly scheduled for Tuesdays.

ITV will broadcast additional daily highlights from the Wales Rally GB, with Friday highlights on Saturday morning and Saturday highlights on Sunday morning.

It replaces commercial broadcaster Channel 5, which broadcast WRC free-to-air highlights from 2016 to 2018 and again in 2019.

As part of the deal, ITV will also show live coverage of the Power Stage of the Wales Rally GB.

The only difference between ITV and Channel 5’s inventories is that ITV will not show a magazine show before each round.

ITV will broadcast its highlights inventory on the ITV4 digital terrestrial channel and its live Power Stage content on ITV4 and/or the broadcaster’s video-on-demand platform, ITV Hub.

The rights were sold by the championship’s commercial rights-holder, WRC Promoter.

ITV last held WRC rights in 2015 in a deal that included an identical highlights inventory, but with no live Power Stage rights. The broadcaster last held live WRC rights in 2007.

Telco BT continues to be the WRC’s main broadcast partner in the UK. Its current deal runs from 2019 to 2022 and provides it with live coverage from each round.

In addition, Welsh-language public-service broadcaster S4C again holds live and highlights rights this year to Wales Rally GB.

The championship’s OTT platform, WRC+, will continue to show all coverage from its events, while Redbull’s digital platform will show highlights and a live Saturday stage from all rounds.

The 2020 WRC will begin on January 23 with the Rallye Monte Carlo and end in November 2020 with the Rally Japan.