• Jul 16, 2009
For World Rally Championship fans living in the U.S., it's been tough to keep up on the action, as domestic television coverage has been virtually nonexistent for some time now. That's about to change, however, as the series has inked a deal with Discovery Communications' HD Theater, a channel with an audience of 633 million. HD Theater has committed to show weekly coverage "from every round of the championship" beginning in October, and it will also air shows featuring related WRC content and news.

The adventure/technology channel already shows other forms of motorsports coverage and car-related programming that we've enjoyed, and we're particularly excited for the return of WRC, as the rallying genre lend itself particularly well to the channel's 1080i, 5.1 digital surround high-def format. After all, the races regularly take place in spectacular settings, and HD broadcasting ought to provide for a heightened level of detail in everything from flying dirt to the look on bystanders' faces as the competitors whip by. Consider us psyched.

Official press release after the jump. Thanks for the tips, everyone!

[Source: WRC | Image: Massimo Bettiol/Getty]

PRESS RELEASE:

High-definition WRC coverage coming to America

Television coverage of the FIA World Rally Championship will be available to millions of households in the USA later this year thanks to a new partnership between series promoters, ISC, and the Discovery Channel's HD Theater network.

WRC programming will be shown weekly on HD Theater starting in October. As well as coverage from every round of the championship, a range of other features and news bulletins will be shown.

Part of the Discovery Channel's range of networks, HD Theater is one of the most widely distributed high-definition services available in the United States. Specialising in adventure, technology, nature and world culture programming, HD Theater also covers a number of racing events, all of which are shown in a 1080i picture format and with 5.1 digital surround sound.

"This is tremendous news for the championship and our fans in the United States," said Simon Long, ISC CEO. "It is a ground breaking deal which means the WRC has a high-profile broadcast presence in the United States via a hugely-respected, quality and innovative partner in Discovery Communication's HD Theater,"

"We're looking forward to the opportunity to take the WRC to an ever wider audience in the significant U.S. market, and working with HD Theater to bring more attention to what we firmly believe is an 'epic motorsport adventure by the world's greatest drivers,'" he added.

Clark Bunting, president and general manager of HD Theater, said: "HD Theater has been a pioneer in high-definition programming and we are excited to introduce the FIA World Rally Championships to our American audience. This year we've seen the action go from the snow-covered roads of Norway to the hairpin turns climbing the Cordobese Sierras of Argentina, and the adrenaline-fuelled rally action will shine in high-definition."


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  • 40 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Glad to hear this, I used to love watching on speed vision b4 it became everything Nascar.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Awesome! Best drivers in the world, period.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally some one is showing my favorite motorsport again! I used to watch the WRC coverage all of the time on speedvision. I can't wait for October.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh yeah! Hopefully it will be more than 30mins/event, the way Dakar coverage has been of late.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So they're going to start showing WRC after the season ends?
      I wonder how delayed everything is going to be next season...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ rygar
        a week delay in sporting events sucks...
        guess i'm sticking to viewing it online if they don't show it the same weekend it happens...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hopefully they will replay this season from October to December then pick up coverage on a consistent basis once the 2010 season starts up. There's approximately 12 weeks from October to December, which would be 1 WRC round per week aired on Discovery HD. Then once the 2010 WRC season starts there's usually about 2-3 weeks in between rounds which would be more than enough time to edit and broadcast a show. I'm hoping that they would show a new episode within a week of the actual race.

        Thank you Discovery HD! F-off SPEED!
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's great news. Now we'll get to see real drivers not like the putz drivers in NASCAR, who can't finish the last 10 laps without 5 wrecks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL. Yeah, that made me laugh too. Plus in World Rally, not only do they have to worry about trees, but boulders, cliffs, jumps, fordings and last, but certainly not least, the local wildlife (read: spectators. Rally enthusiasts are a crazy bunch).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes rallies do have as many maybe more wrecks. There is good reason for it. Such as that tree coming out of NO WHERE.

        Where NASCAR has only "OMG WHERE'D THAT LEFT TURN COME FROM?!" moments....
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Where NASCAR has only "OMG WHERE'D THAT LEFT TURN COME FROM?!" moments...."

        OMG, I almost fell out of my chair laughing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Woop woop!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thank god I just upgraded to HD this past weekend! Damn its gonna look good on my new 50" plasma!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Look like its time to get Dish Network/other paid service!!

        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, Discovery has been "giving" HD Theater away. Can't speak for the rest of the country, but in Atlanta you can get it unencrypted if your HDTV has a digital cable tuner, and on every service I've had (Comcast, DirecTV and now Dish) it's available in the lowest HD package. Of course now that they're in the process of turning it into essentially an HD motorsports channel, instead of just recycling stuff from their other channels and IMAX archives, that might change.
        • 5 Years Ago
        and even so it's still a channel you have to pay extra for...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      OH SWEET! I need to set my dvr!
        • 5 Years Ago
        YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

        FINALLY!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      FINALLY!!!!!

      I used to watch on speedvision all the time... even when they moved it to 3am to make room for nascar crap before they killed coverage completely.
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