In an announcement today the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship will recieve 46 hours of live air time in a new three year deal with broadcaster ITV.
A season total of some 46 hours of live air time will be devoted by ITV4 to the BTCC Britains premier motor racing championship plus a further ten hours of highlights.
Extending the reach of the championship even further, ITV1, Britains largest commercial terrestrial network, will also broadcast a one-hour highlights programme on the Monday night after each event. Its sister digital station Men & Motors will schedule that same programme during the week following each event.
This gives the BTCC a massive total of some 76 hours of UK broadcasting across both the digital and terrestrial ITV networks making it the most significant UK TV broadcast arrangement in the championships long history.
Eight of the ten fixtures will be shown live and non-stop on ITV4 from 12.30pm-5.30pm with the remaining two receiving three hours of coverage apiece. All three BTCC races on the day will now be broadcast in their entirety and the valuable extra airtime also means that more behind the scenes stories will be shown, thus giving viewers greater insight into the BTCC. As well, some support races will be seen live on ITV for the first time.
Furthermore, ITVs website www.itv.com will live-stream each Sunday afternoon BTCC broadcast
ITV4 broadcasts to around 90 per cent of the UKs households via freeview digital, cable, and satellite signals and is now home to many of ITVs top sporting events including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, boxing and the Tour de France. Other high-profile sports will also be joining ITV4s line-up.
Alan Gow, BTCC Series Director, comments: This is fantastic news for everyone associated with the BTCC our teams, drivers, partners and fans who will all benefit from the increased ITV coverage of our events. To have 76 hours of BTCC programming is simply phenomenal… thats a staggering 4,560 minutes of ITV scheduling, broadcast on both the free to air digital and terrestrial platforms.
With five hours of live coverage on race-day, ITV4 is able to now devote more time and resources to fully cover our events as well as to reflect on the BTCCs history, in what is the championships 50th anniversary season.
ITV has been the BTCCs TV broadcaster since 2002 and the fact that it has embarked on such an expansion of its coverage, while also committing to a multi-year agreement, is solid proof of its enthusiasm for the championship as a major sporting spectacle for its viewers.
Mark Sharman, ITV Director of News and Sport, says: We are delighted to have secured coverage of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship for ITV4 as the channel is an increasing destination for premium sports events and is now available to almost nine out of ten UK homes, as well as being simulcast on itv.com.
This new contract will see a significant increase in the airtime we are devoting to the BTCC, allowing us to broadcast the races live and reflect more of the excitement and scale of the ten events.
2008 BTCC transmission times, ITV4:
Brands Hatch 30 March 12.30pm-5.30pm
Rockingham 13 April 12.30pm-5.30pm
Donington Park 4 May 12.30pm-5.30pm
Thruxton 18 May 12.30pm-5.30pm
Croft 1 June 12.30pm-5.30pm
Snetterton 13 July 12.30pm-2.30pm & 5pm-6pm
Oulton Park 27 July 12.30pm-2.30pm & 5pm-6pm
Knockhill 17 August 12.30pm-5.30pm
Silverstone 31 August 12.30pm-5.30pm
Brands Hatch 21 September 12.30pm-5.30pm
Source: Btcc Media