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Sat.1 lined up for rights extension, DTM overhauls calendar

Ferdinand Habsburg of R-Motorsport drives his Aston Martin Vantage ahead of WRT's Jonathan Aberdein in his Audi RS 5 during the DTM Race 1 at Brands Hatch this year (by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

German media group ProSiebenSat.1 is reported to be close to extending its rights deal with the DTM domestic touring cars series, which has today (Thursday) revealed a revamped calendar for 2020 with two new races in Italy and Sweden.

ProSiebenSat.1 currently holds rights to the DTM under a two-season rights deal, covering the 2018 and 2019 seasons, that was struck in December 2017. Its flagship commercial broadcaster, Sat.1, is covering the series with public-service broadcaster ARD having previously held the rights across the 2016 and 2017 campaigns.

The Speedweek.com website reports that only financial details remain to be agreed over a contract renewal.

Sat.1 pulled in an average of 595,000 viewers during its first season of DTM race coverage, a fall of around 300,000 viewers per race compared to ARD’s average during its final season (in 2017). The Constantin Medien-owned Sport1 holds rights to show a 30-minute highlights show on Sunday evenings.

Meanwhile, next year’s DTM calendar has been released, revealing an expanded 10-race schedule that visits four classic German venues, five European racetracks, and an unnamed venue, which will be announced at a later date.

Each round will retain its usual double-header weekend format, with one race and qualifying session each taking place on Saturday and Sunday. The 2020 DTM calendar will again begin and end in Zolder, Belgium and Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, Germany, on April 24-26 and October 2-4, respectively.

The undisclosed location for the 2020 calendar has been granted a slot of May 29-31, with confirmation expected ahead of this year’s DTM finale at Hockenheim. For the first time, DTM’s touring cars will visit Sweden on June 12-14. The ‘Scandinavian Raceway’ at Anderstorp will hold the race, having staged Formula One’s Swedish Grand Prix on six occasions during the 1970s.

A further new venue is Monza, which will host its round of the DTM a fortnight after Anderstorp. The historic F1 venue is the latest Italian racetrack to host a round of the DTM, after Misano (2018, 2019), Adria Raceway (2003, 2004, 2010) and Mugello (1994-1996, 2007, 2008). The event was confirmed earlier this month as part of the announcement detailing Monza’s F1 race contract extension.

After this year’s popular debut at the TT Circuit at Assen, a visit to the Netherlands once again forms a key part of the 2020 calendar from September 4-6. DTM will also return to British venue Brands Hatch, back again in its now traditional late-summer slot of August 22-23.

Alongside Hockenheim, three more traditional German circuits will also host DTM next season. The Lausitzring, owned by long-standing DTM partner DEKRA, will be hosting the first German event of the year on May 15-17.

The Norisring street race has become a staple of the German motorsport calendar, and takes place on July 10-12. As in this year, the penultimate round of the series will take place at the Nürburgring, in the Eifel mountains, from September 11-13.

“The 2020 DTM calendar reflects our ambition to achieve both growth and stability,” Achim Kostron, managing director of DTM’s umbrella organisation ITR, said. “We’ll continue to race at Germany’s most popular motorsport venues while also increasing the series’ presence across Europe.

“We want to continue growing awareness of DTM in key European markets – so racing at legendary British and Italian racetracks such as Brands Hatch and Monza really allows us to reach those national audiences. Equally, our first visit to Sweden next spring will unlock another new and important motorsport market, one that continues to grow.”

When questioned about the identity of the venue for the event scheduled from May 29-31, Kostron added: “We still have one surprise in store. And it’s very exciting.”