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WRC sees audience increase in opening rounds of 2020 season

(Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

Audiences for the opening three rounds of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship season have increased by 15 per cent on those from 2019, according to analytics provider Nielsen Sports.

The boost in audience numbers for the three events – the Rallye Monte-Carlo, Rally Sweden and Rally Guanajuato Mexico – was aided by an increase in the number of hours of coverage from global broadcasters.

There was 2,679 hours of coverage, a 28-per-cent rise on the 2,095 hours of coverage from the open three events in 2019.

The top five audience markets from the events were Finland (public-service broadcaster YLE), France (pay-television operator Canal Plus), Spain (OTT service DAZN and public-service broadcaster TVE), Belgium (French-language broadcaster RTBF) and Sweden (public-service broadcaster SVT).

WRC has this year gained free-to-air coverage in Japan, following deals agreed by the Dentsu agency with terrestrial broadcasters NHK and TV Asahi. The country will host a WRC event this year, and audience figures for the opening WRC events were promising as the country was ranked in the top 10.

WRC also streams coverage from all events on its OTT platform WRC+.

WRC events are currently postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Last month, it created two esports events – the Vodafone Rally de Portugal and the eSports WRC Shootout contests – which the motor racing series broadcast on its official channels. It has said that the esports events received a combined 2 million views.