Presentation: Owned streaming platforms and television broadcast deals: Products and considerations from the WRC


This video was presented at the Applied Sport Media Association conference 2021.


2020 Rallye Monte Carlo and WRC drivers and media zone. Shot by Sam Tickell for

Owned streaming platforms and television broadcast deals: Products and considerations from the World Rally Championship (WRC)

Innovations in broadcast delivery creates opportunities for niche sport promoters to explore new ways of reaching their audience. Now, there is no single solution. In the case of the World Rally Championship and the WRC Promoter GmbH, a company partially owned by Red Bull, they committed to an owned streaming platform which dramatically increased broadcast hours, shifted their relationships with broadcasters and viewers.


The resulting product WRC + All Live increased their broadcast hours significantly and guaranteed their sport was available in every country. By understanding and applying the notions of ‘broadcast scarcity’ and ‘digital plenitude (Hutchins & Rowe, 2009); and sport entrepreneurship (Ratten, 2011), a single case study method was devised utilizing 19 qualitative interviews from important stakeholders within the sport and event attendance. By understanding the contextual conditions that the WRC found itself in, an understanding of the effects of their decisions can be made.

The key decisions of an owned streaming platform and creating a worldwide, ungeoblocked product allowed the sport to achieve two key outcomes. The first was to have a direct relationship with their audience. The second was to have complete control over the product and ensuring they would always have a presence in every geographic marketplace. This approach was vastly different to other established sports and the previous broadcast strategy from WRC. They shifted from a sport promoter to a media and sport company, and they shifted the negotiation power when dealing with regional broadcasters.

The WRC experience suggests a clear determination to control their own product and have a greater influence over how their audience engages with the product. Planning for the viewer requires awareness that their audience can view from anywhere and accessibility needs to be at the forefront. It is a reason why having an ungeoblocked product is important – the sport gets full control, and the fan experience can be fully managed. It goes beyond contractual arrangements with broadcasters, as viewers do not only watch sport from in their living rooms or bars, but seminal moments in sport can be viewed anywhere with communities online or in person. Furthermore, viewers do not necessarily make ‘appointments’ rather interact with notifications and messages on their smart devices.

This change was notable for many interviews across many different roles. Financial implications need to be monitored, both to keep the product to a high standard and to ensure that the benefits from an owned service outweigh those offered through more traditional sales techniques. This paper explores a niche sport and not a megasport where sports-media research traditionally exists. It tries to understand the rapidly developing market and how niche sport managers can adapt to it. The adaptions to the changing marketplace, fan engagement and sports entrepreneurship explored in this research focuses one solution but one that provides important lessons for both sport managers and media-sport researchers.


Billings, A. (2011). Sports media: Transformation, integration, consumption. Routledge.

Hutchins, B., & Rowe, D. (2009). From Broadcast Scarcity to Digital Plenitude: The Changing Dynamics of the Media Sport Content Economy. Television & New Media, 10(4), 354–370.

Ratten, V. (2011). Sport-based entrepreneurship: Towards a new theory of entrepreneurship and sport management. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 7(1), 57–69.…

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