In news that has brought tears to my eyes and joy to thousands, the U.S. will finally get the WRC back on the television and it is going to be in HD. It has been a few years since Sebastian Loeb and Marcus Gronholm graced the speed channel and now the WRC’s promoting body the ISC will bring the series back to millions in the U.S.
Discovery Channel has picked up the tab for the series and will show coverage on the HD Theatre channel which is one of the highest distributed HD channels in the U.S. This will bring the series to millions of potential viewers with thousands of those viewers starving for rally action. Coverage will begin in October which should give the U.S. audience the Spanish Rally and Rally of Great Britain. These two rounds will be the last two of the 09 calendar and will be a great segway into the 2010 season which promises to restore some of the prestige the series has lacked the last couple years.
The deal thus far has been signed for one year. However, the deal can be extended up to four years depending on what the broadcasters choose to do after initial year. Also, the contract guarantees coverage of all twelve rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship and have pre-race shows as well as daily updates that will be broadcast on the channel to during the rally to keep fans in the loop on the days happenings.
This is not only great news for the WRC fan in the U.S. but also the WRC as a series. There are a number of fans who have been starving and searching for coverage of the series, only to come up short. The demise of WRC coverage can be directly linked to when NASCAR began to dominate coverage on the U.S.’s Speed Channel. That teamed with a high price to show the WRC saw the series dropped off the channel. Now Discovery Channel looks to bring back the thrilling action that is THE extreme sport of auto racing into homes all across the U.S.