The Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship will be available to millions of viewers in 2018, thanks to an impressive broadcast package that will see all six rounds of the series aired on three platforms – television, on demand and on-line, including professionally broadcast live streaming. Former co-driver and seasoned presenter Howard Davies will host the television programmes, bringing his vast rallying knowledge and inimitable style to the comprehensive coverage.
The programmes will be filmed, edited and distributed by rallying broadcast experts Special Stage – who filmed the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship from 2010-‘15 inclusive. As well as placing the highlights programmes on television, it has become the go-to place to watch current UK rallying events on-line, and last year attracted an audience of 2.2 million viewers, who enjoyed free access to over 3 million minutes of footage.
Edited highlights from all six rounds of the 2018 Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship will be broadcast on the Front Runner channel – a sports channel on Sky and Freesat (channel 469). Front Runner comes with the basic Sky package, while Freesat is essentially freeview with a dish instead of an aerial. Combined, around 10 million UK homes have access to Front Runner.
Motor Trend On Demand, which has recently been bought by the Discovery Network, will also broadcast edited highlights from all rounds of the Championship. Motor Trend On Demand is a subscription channel, with the advantage that you can watch it on various platforms, including Amazon Prime, as well as boxes like Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast, and on mobile ‘phones, tablets and computers. It’s a US-based broadcaster, which is making a big push into the UK market. It currently has around 200,000 subscribers and is growing rapidly in popularity.
Live action coverage, with commentary, from all rounds of the Championship will be broadcast FREE on the Special Stage Facebook page. Many new smart TVs have Facebook built in, so you can tune in and watch the Championship on your home television sets – as well as watching on devises such as a Chromecast device, mobile ‘phone, tablet and laptop. Viewers will be notified when the broadcast is about to go live, and fans can comment and get interactively involved with the Championship, a team, a driver, an event or with each other in the comments section. Whilst anyone with a mobile ‘phone can provide some sort of live coverage, Special Stage is the only operative in the UK doing live streaming with professional broadcast-standard cameras and dedicated live streaming equipment – including the use of a satellite, ensuring that live images can be transmitted from locations where there is little or no mobile signal.
The footage will remain on the Special Stage Facebook page and can be viewed at any time, and the ability to ‘share’ the footage widens the social media audience and is a valuable promotional asset for competitors and commercial partners. The Special Stage Facebook page currently has around 25,000 followers and is growing at around 1,000 new followers per month.
Footage will also be placed on the Special Stage website and YouTube pages, as well as the soon to be updated ‘Special Stage TV’ App, which is available in the App Store on IOS and Android devices.
Where to find the coverage
The programmes will be listed as ‘Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship’ on-line and as ‘Special Stage Weekly’ on television. The TV programming will start in March and run through to the end of November. Each Championship round will have a dedicated show, taking up the full half hour slot. They will be broadcast the weekend following each round.
RallyFM is planning to be at all the rounds of the Championship with pre-start news and interviews and reports from the service areas and stage ends. RallyFM is available on-line via rallyfm.net and by following @rallyfm on Twitter.
Wayne Goldring, MD of Special Stage, said: “Special Stage is the only rally TV company in the UK to put coverage on-line, in full, for free, soon after the event, and the only ones to stream live with professional broadcast quality equipment. This will make the Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship available to a huge global audience. Furthermore, we are delighted that Front Runner and Motor Trend On Demand will broadcast edited highlights of each round, in a dedicated thirty minute ‘Special Stage Weekly’ programme. All in all, it’s a very accessible and modern way to broadcast rallying, and we hope rally fans will enjoy all the great coverage and close battles the Championship will undoubtedly produce.”
Jane Evans, Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship Co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce such a comprehensive broadcast package for the 2018 Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship, and thrilled that Howard Davies will be joining the team to host the television reports. We will certainly be looking to lead the field with this cutting edge style and pioneering format of rally broadcasting, and I am looking forward to working with Wayne and his Special Stage team throughout the year to delivery great coverage to rally fans in Britain and around the world.”
Shaun Chetwyn, Protyre Motorsport Manager, said: “Protyre is delighted to be able to assist the MSA and BTRDA to ensure the successful return of what we believe to be a very important part of British rallying. With Jane’s hard work and support from the leading tyre manufacturers, namely Pirelli, Michelin and Hoosier, we believe that the Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship will grow from strength to strength and have a fantastic future.”