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BT Sport seals live WRC rights in UK

BT Sport has signed an exclusive deal for live coverage of the 2014 World Rally Championship in the UK, which will be in addition to highlights on ITV4 and Motors TV.
BT Sport has landed the exclusive rights to live UK coverage of the World Rally Championship in 2014, the company announced on Saturday.

The deal, which extends over the whole of this year's 13-race season, commences with live broadcasts on Wednesday from the Rallye Monte Carlo which is the first race of the year.

BT Sport said that coverage will be spread across all three of its subscription sports channels, BT Sport 1 and 2 as well as ESPN. It forms part of an expanding line-up of motorsport action on the pay-for service, which this year also includes exclusive UK rights for MotoGP and IndyCar.

For the Monte Carlo season opener, there will be live coverage of both runs over the 10-mile Sospel-Breil sur Roya stage next Saturday afternoon and evening, the latter comprising the 'Power Stage' that rewards its top three finishers with bonus championship points

As well as live stages there will also be previews for each rally and daily highlights, and a review show that looks back at the whole event after it had concluded. In the build-up to the 'Monte' there will be a mid-week season preview on January 15 followed by nightly coverage between January 17 and 19.

The BT Sports deal means the first regular live rally action on UK screens since ESPN covered the 'Power Stages' during the 2011 season.

Last year coverage was provided by the free-to-air ITV4 channel, whose arrangement to show post-event hour-long highlights programme on the Tuesday after each rally is unaffected by the latest BT Sport deal.

The digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV has also announced that it will carry half-hour daily highlights programmes during each of this year's rallies, commencing with this week's Monte Carlo event.

The range of TV viewing options available to fans in 2014 is in stark contrast to recent seasons where it has been increasingly difficult to view WRC in the UK, and hopefully marks a turning point and a resurgence for the sport's popularity in the UK.



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