Record 8.9 million people watched 2012 Circuit of Ireland
By Bob Hume, 22nd October 2012
A global audience of almost 9 million viewers watched the 2012 Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally. Coverage of the world famous Easter weekend rally, which this year competed as round 3 of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), attracted a global audience of 8.9 million viewers, according to audience statistics published by independent research consultancy, IFM Sports Group.
The event was broadcast with ground-based and helicopter images of Northern Ireland, including Titanic Quarter, Belfast, Lisburn and Armagh to a global audience, resulting in the Rally becoming one of the most viewed rounds of the IRC.
Circuit of Ireland Rally Director, Bobby Willis is delighted with the level of interest, saying: “Since taking over the Rally in 2010, our main aim has been to bring the Rally to the people and widen its appeal across Ireland. The 2012 event certainly realised this dream – not only across Ireland, but also, around the world! The event attracted thousands of spectators but to think that a further 8.9 million people across the world tuned in to watch the Circuit is incredible!"
The cross-county nature of the Rally, along with cutting-edge HD camerawork from Eurosport, allowed global exposure of several locations in Northern Ireland, including Belfast."
Bobby continued, “The worldwide exposure this event provided for Northern Ireland has far outweighed my expectations and closer to home, the exposure certainly didn't disappoint. Official figures from UTV revealed 324,000 individual viewers watched the Circuit on television, with RPM Motorsport also breaking all records."
“Electronic media has also proved itself as a huge vehicle for extending the reach of the Rally. The app produced by iRally, the world's largest rally specific publication, covered all stages of the 2012 IRC and was accessed over 1 million times during the Circuit of Ireland period. To deliver these super results, with such a small team of volunteers, is truly staggering.”
Eurosport’s Commercial Director Francois Ribeiro was also delighted the Circuit, serving as the only British or Irish round of the IRC, proved such a popular event.
“The 2012 IRC featured a number of events in breath-taking locations including San Marino, Sicily, and Gran Canaria and I am delighted that the thrilling action from the Northern Ireland countryside, and indeed Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, attracted such a significant audience for Eurosport.”
Reflecting on the recent decision to merge the IRC Series with the European Rally Championship for 2013, Mr Willis said: “This was a decision made by FIA and Eurosport Events to strengthen the ERC as future World Rally Championship events are likely to be less-Euro centric. Eurosport will be the new promoter and broadcaster of the FIA European Rally Championship from 2013, for the next 10 years. At this stage the Circuit of Ireland has been included in the provisional calendar of events."
“However, the Rally is an expensive event to run and without continued sponsorship and financial support, which we have been extremely lucky to secure the last few years, the 2013 event, and inclusion in the European Rally Championship, is yet to be confirmed. We are hopeful that a decision on funding can be made in the very near future.”