WRC should focus on internet over TV coverage - David Richards

Former World Rally Championship promoter and champion co-driver David Richards says the series must forget television and focus its efforts on the internet

WRC should focus on internet over TV coverage - David Richards

Richards, a long-time advocate of developing rallying for internet coverage, says the current level of demand from broadcasters for WRC coverage highlights the need for the shift.

He adds, however, that the teams themselves must shoulder some of the blame for the current situation.

"People are still focused on trying to attract a television audience which, probably, is unachievable," said Richards, who ran WRC promotion from 2000-07.

"You do also have to blame the manufacturers for pushing television. They have a very narrow focus because their bosses want to see it on television and I'm afraid this is unrealistic.

"Sometimes you have to say: 'This is pushing water uphill. What are the alternatives?' And then you have to be bold about that."

Richards now admits his policy of pushing for the internet came too soon for the WRC, but reckons the time is now right.

"If you aim to become the dominant motorsport on the internet, then all you have to do is transfer all these spectators - sometimes a million people on an event - into people who watch it on the internet," he said.

"What you would then have is tens of millions of people watching on the internet, giving value; you commercialise it that way around. Then you do free-of-charge news coverage giving two-minute clips focusing on national interest stories: Sebastien Ogier to French channels or German channels get Volkswagen coverage."

FORMAT CHANGES DEFENDED

Richards also defended the WRC itinerary changes that came on his watch.

"People say: 'We lost everything because the format of rallies changed and rallies only go around in circles now with centralised servicing - it's not what it was and it was far better when it went across country.' I wonder, why has it stayed like that?" he said.

"That was an evolutionary process and people need to understand we went that way for two reasons, the first of which was safety.

"People so readily forget the days when rallying almost stopped dead and was made illegal by governments because we couldn't control the people, the crowds and the safety. We had to consolidate to make sure there were enough marshals to ensure safety.

"The second reason was because the media needed to cover events on a regular basis. We couldn't get mainstream media in because you had to be an expert map reader to get yourself around the countryside just to find out what the hell was going on.

"Since then, we have sorted the safety out and media-wise, we've got better-than-ever communications, so we could run a linear route and do things differently.

"But, what do we do? We complain about things and we get stuck in the past instead of opening our minds to the fact that things have moved on.

"This is what frustrates me when I look from the outside. This is not rocket science."

shares
comments
Quick decision on 2017 World Rally Championship rules promised

Previous article

Quick decision on 2017 World Rally Championship rules promised

Next article

Volkswagen's Jost Capito says team orders would 'betray' WRC fans

Volkswagen's Jost Capito says team orders would 'betray' WRC fans
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Author David Evans
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021