Television coverage of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship across the ITV network in the UK will break through the magic 100-hour mark of total broadcast time in 2009.
The country's leading commercial TV broadcaster has confirmed even more live air-time, plus almost double the amount of highlights following each of the season's ten rounds on both their terrestrial and digital stations. Furthermore, a season review programme will also be broadcast.
Starting at the season's opening round, at Brands Hatch on 5 April, ITV4's regular Sunday afternoon broadcast will begin earlier than before, to include live coverage of all three BTCC races as they happen. This means a mammoth live six hour-plus transmission on the day that will also include action from some of the BTCC's support race categories.
The channel also hopes to further add to the existing live coverage during the championship. Programming schedules will be announced during the course of the season.
In addition, ITV will extend the duration of its BTCC highlights programmes by 50 per cent - from 60 to 90 minutes - whilst also increasing the number of repeats. These will be broadcast as follows: ITV1 on the following Monday evening; ITV4 on the following Tuesday afternoon; Men & Motors on the following Friday evening; ITV4 the following Saturday afternoon; Men & Motors the following Wednesday evening (ten days after the race event).
On top of that, the network will broadcast a one-hour end-of-season review to look back over the BTCC's ten-round calendar that, between April and October, will provide more than 300,000 trackside fans - as well as the millions tuning in to ITV - with one of the country's finest sporting spectacles. The season review programme will be screened on both ITV1 and ITV4.
All of its live BTCC broadcasts on ITV4 will be live-streamed online via the www.itv.com website as well and the highlights programmes will also be available for viewing online via their ITV Player.
ITV is currently in the second year of its latest three-year agreement with the BTCC, which provides live Sunday afternoon broadcasts from all BTCC events through to the end of 2010 at least. In 2008 its coverage totalled some 95 hours (more than 50 of those were dedicated live across the ten rounds on ITV4) and attracted almost 12 million viewers.
Comments BTCC Series Director Alan Gow: "This takes our TV coverage to yet another level again. Thanks to ITV's monumental commitment and passion for delivering major sports events to its audiences, the BTCC already enjoys a TV broadcast arrangement that is envied the world over. ITV's 2009 undertaking of even more coverage on both ITV1 and ITV4 is great news for our teams, drivers, sponsors, partners, support races and of course our many millions of fans. ITV is a fantastic partner in the BTCC's success and we are immensely proud of our very close relationship."
Nick Moody, Editor of many of ITV's top sports broadcasts including the BTCC, says: "The BTCC is truly one of the jewels in the crown for ITV Sport. It has drama, incident and controversy written all over it and naturally makes for great TV. The fact it is one of the world's most fan-friendly sports is also extremely appealing to us here at ITV - the interaction between the star names and the public is virtually unique. Once more, our cameras and dedicated crew will be broadcasting live from every round of the BTCC in 2009 and we very much look forward to giving our viewers the ultimate ring-side seat for what is always a hugely exciting TV experience."