Features World Rally Championship

The missing piece in WRC’s promotional puzzle

How we watch sport is constantly evolving. As Rally Insight discussed recently with Becs Williams, the World Rally Championship’s coverage has changed dramatically in recent years.

With so many positive aspects to the WRC Promoter’s continual progress, there is still one avenue with huge untapped potential.

An all-in, behind-the-scenes, documentary series.

Straightaway, it’s easy to draw comparisons with Netflix and Formula 1’s Drive to Survive collaboration.

According to Digital Sport and Nielsen Sports data, Drive to Survive has been key to F1 hitting one billion interested people in 2022. People between 16 and 35 years of age are responsible for 77% of F1’s recent surge of interest.

Figures don’t come much more impressive than that.

It’s not just Netflix paving the way but Amazon Prime’s documentaries on several NFL, Aussie Rules, rugby, and football teams have given fans a chance to sample exclusive footage of sports they otherwise would have scrolled past.

For me, the biggest success of Drive to Survive has been its capability to dramatise three sub-standard Formula 1 seasons. Remember Lewis Hamilton has won each of the last three world titles by 88, 87, and 124 points. Hardly nail-biting stuff.

Now, just imagine the potential for the WRC. Think Cetibeli 2020, think Ott Tanak’s Hyundai debut in Monte-Carlo, think Elfyn Evans’ Rally Monza heartbreak. Oh, the drama.

Of course, it would all require never-seen-before buy-in from every manufacturer. But then again, All Live has pushed the boundaries when it comes to inside access, and I guarantee the teams are hugely grateful for that step.

“I think it would be interesting,” admitted WRC commentator, Becs Williams. “Could it be switched to the WRC?

“Certainly the stories are there in abundance but it would mean that teams would need to open themselves right up.

“Before Covid they were all up for us going behind the scenes but this is more than that.

“I think the teams would be up for it and it would deliver WRC to a new audience which is what we are looking for.

“We are always thinking about how to get rallying to new people and engage new fans. Formula 1 is at a different level in a sense.

“I have always believed WRC is far more exciting to watch but of course it is a dedicated fan who is going to commit themselves to follow something for three or four days.

“But when you do commit to a full weekend like that I think it transforms you as a motorsport fan. I feel that it is very easy to switch a Formula 1 fan to a rally fan, it’s just how we do it.

“I think a vehicle like “Drive to Survive” would be fantastic, I would certainly watch it even if I wasn’t involved in WRC.

“You want to see these behind-the-scenes things, the drama of what happens and how decisions are made.”

The WRC has been sticking its head out more regularly over the past five years. 2022 will bring another huge regulation change, All Live has provided ground-breaking coverage, and the series has introduced exciting new events while braving the coronavirus storm.

Without witnessing those recent changes, one would say an access-all-areas documentary was a step too far.

But with the success of All Live and the continued quality of action provided throughout the championship, surely it is time for the WRC to consider giving Netflix a go.

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Photos courtesy of wrc.com, Hyundai Motorsport, and M-Sport

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