The World Rally Championship's promoters have struck a deal to screen the category in the United States.
In what's been seen as a vital move to re-establish the sport in one of the world's key car markets, the WRC promoter International Sportsworld Communicators (ISC) has secured a deal with Discovery Communication channel HD Theater, which has a total audience of 633 million.
The WRC programming will premiere weekly on HD Theater starting in October. The agreement provides HD Theater with coverage from each of the 12 2009 WRC race events. Additionally, race previews and short-form content featuring news updates from each day of the rally will be made available to HD Theater
"This is tremendous news for the championship and our fans in the United States," said ISC CEO Simon Long. "It's a ground-breaking deal which means the WRC has a high-profile broadcast presence in the U.S. We’re looking forward to taking the WRC to an ever-widening audience in the significant U.S. market."
ISC has previously stated that it remains one of ISC's aims to return a World Rally Championship event to America. The series hasn't included a stateside round since Miki Biasion won the Olympus Rally in 1988.
"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," said Clark Bunting, president and general manager of Discovery HD Theater. "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-fueled rally action will shine in high-definition."