STEADY HAND AT THE CONTROLS: Petter Solberg racing to victory in his Citroen C4. IMAGE: File, Shutterstock.
NEW YORK, United States - Total TV audience numbers for 2014's World Rallycross championship were up by more than 550% in dedicated coverage (live, as-live or highlights) compared to 2013.
Broadcast hours reveal a 444% increase with TV stations broadcasting 3982 hours of WRX coverage through that season.
The World Rallycross Championship (World RX) is a rallycross series, which consists of 12 two-day events driven on mixed-surface closed circuits.
A recent report carried out by leading sports marketing research company Repucom in conjunction with IMG, which runs and promotes the championship, revealed a sharp increase in TV figures across all regions.
WORRYING F1 FIGURES
Pan-regional broadcasters such as Fox Sports in South America and BeIN Sport across the Middle East and America covered World RX for the first time in 2014, helping to open up the sport to a many new territories. As a result, combined household reach nearly doubled in 2014 as the number of broadcasters covering World RX rose to 58.
Meanwhile, Formula 1's TV ratings in key markets took a nosedive in 2014. Correspondent Miguel Sanz, writing in the Spanish sports daily Marca, said the most worrying figures were from Latin America where the viewers had halved.
“In Italy,” he added, “depending on the successes of Ferrari, the drop is 20% based on data from the first five races of 2014.”
Analysis indicated that the ratings decline began with Sebastian Vettel’s utter dominance a few years ago: the global audience fell from 515-million in 2011 to 500-million in 2012.
The World RX of Sweden, however, attracted the largest global audience with, globally, 3.3-million people watching the event on TV. The Turkish round drew 2.5-million viewers to its dedicated broadcast.
Europe - a vital advertising market - was the biggest continent tuning to World RX in 2014 - 11.4-million people watching the dedicated coverage of all 12 rounds.
WATCH: 2014 World Rally X champion Petter Solberg.
The championship has also seen huge growth via its social platforms with Facebook 'likes' up by 348% over a year. Twitter followers rose by 202% increase but Instagram proved to be the biggest growth platform - 900%. Overall, the average reach across all social media platforms per event rose from 430 000 in 2013 to a whopping 6.7-million in 2014.
Live event attendances were another success story: a 130% increase in 2014.
Driver entries rocketed too - 112 Supercar drivers competed through the year and news media interest increased by 80% increase in accredited media representatives attending World RX events.
World RX's MD Martin Anayi said: “The latest data show growth across the board and some of the percentage statistics, especially our digital platforms, are remarkable. We've seen a sharp increase in broadcast figures in 12 months, too, but increased coverage on more widely available TV channels is going to be our main target for 2015.
"We’ve had to think outside the box over the past 24 months and mix coverage on our traditional broadcast partners as well as use other platforms such as Livestream, Facebook and YouTube to reach our fans in territories which don’t have dedicated World RX TV coverage.
"These latest TV figures are a great start but we’ll continue to work on further developing the championship’s profile.”