Watching the coverage of this year's Rallye Monte Carlo recently, I was struck once again by how rallying continues to remain under-represented on mainstream media, notwithstanding Channel 5's worthy attempt at a round up programme following each WRC event.
It never seems to be reported by the BBC, not even when the WRC comes to the Welsh forests. The equivalent of F1, WRC receives next to no mentions by the venerable British institution even on their sprawling sports website. I realise that broadcasting rights inevitably complicate matters, but surely who won the British round of the World Rally Championship is worthy of a passing mention on the news?
Hats off then, to Red Bull TV. Well known for sponsoring all kinds of adrenaline sport, Red Bull have decided to show this year's WRC on their free to air channel.
Anyone can watch Red Bull TV online, so it makes my favourite sport accessible. You can watch the show "live" (in the sense that you can watch it as it's first broadcast) or go back and watch it later. They have made a pretty good attempt at making it comprehensible to a newcomer without patronising the more knowledgeable fan. Not easy. They've also made the effort to back the live shows up with some shorter programmes which give more background. Some are very short, in deference to the YouTube generation. But that's OK. It all gets rallying out there.
I still despair of getting rallying back into the mainstream media. Perhaps it's because I remember the good old days of Grandstand and the (daily, during the RAC) Top Gear Rally Report. Maybe I'm wrong, and the mainstream media doesn't matter so much any more, in the days of social media. But I've a sneaky feeling it does.
As a side note, the World Service aired a fantastic programme about Jutta Kleinschmidt today. Short but sweet, Sporting Witness brings you the story of her 2001 Dakar victory. Perhaps I will forgive the BBC after all.
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