Today, at the launch event for the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship season, Promoter North One Sport announces a raft of developments to mark the dawning of a new era for the sport and unveils breaking news on growing audience figures and new television deals for the WRC.

The first round of 2010 season takes place in the ice and snow of Sweden on February 11th with new cars, teams and drivers joining the current line-up of WRC heroes. The sense of anticipation could not be higher, especially with the news that world renowned drivers Kimi Raikkonen and America’s Ken Block will be joining the ranks of WRC.

The introduction of a new S-WRC series, for Super2000 cars, alongside an enlarged calendar of 13 Events, a host of new television deals, and the appointment of the sport’s first ever Championship Promoter, all point to a ground-breaking year ahead.

This sense of momentum is further reinforced by the breaking news that in 2009 the average number of television viewers per rally grew by a healthy 12% (source: TNS Sport). Rally GB, the last event of the 2009 season, culminated in a winner-takes-all shoot-out between Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen, which attracted a massive 61 million viewers worldwide.

For 2010 the good news is that WRC fans around the world can look forward to even more coverage of their favourite stars with the announcement of a range of new television agreements. These include 5 year deals with MTV3 in Finland and Network 10 and One HD in Australia. Multi-year agreements have also been reached in important territories including Italy (RAI), Scandinavia (Viasat), Portugal (Sport TV), France (Orange and Motors TV), the USA (Discovery), China (national and regional broadcasters) and the Middle East (Abu Dhabi TV).

A selection of further new deals for 2010 have been secured in France (TF1 and France Television), Greece (SKAI), South America (Fox Sports), New Zealand (Sky TV), the UK (Dave and S4C) plus global news syndication via Reuters and SNTV. A number of additional agreements will be announced in the near future.

All of these agreements reflect North One Sport’s commitment to securing the best possible mix of quality international, regional and local media coverage.

Other things to look out for during 2010 include transmission of live television from a number of events starting in Rally Sweden, spectacular aerial coverage from our TV helicopter, new on-board camera technology and the development of state-of-the-art High Definition TV coverage for introduction in 2011.

A new WRC video game franchise, a re-vamped wrc.com website and digital offering later in the year will provide fans with more opportunities to interact than ever before. The future of the WRC looks very positive with renewed interest of many car manufacturers, teams and drivers, and a series of pioneering changes to the sport’s regulations designed to reduce costs and improve the show.

Neil Duncanson, Chairman of Championship Promoter, North One Sport comments “This is a genuine new era for the sport and every stakeholder involved in the WRC believes the future is extremely bright. This year is just the start. The WRC will become the one of the world’s premier sporting brands in the next 5 years.”

Simon Long, Chief Executive, North One Sport, adds “We’re really encouraged by this evidence of the enduring appeal of WRC and the confidence broadcast partners around the world are showing. With our exciting plans for the future and so many positive developments in the pipeline, just buckle up and enjoy the ride!”

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