Zug, Switzerland – The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) enjoyed a significant increase in exposure during the first half of its "Super Season", with the opening five races seeing a 115 million increase in cumulative audience to 255 million.
This growth comes just five months after Infront renewed its exclusive media rights partnership with WEC and underlines the growing appeal of endurance racing.
Double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso of Spain was a key driver of this popularity boost. A new agreement with Spanish broadcaster DMAX ensured WEC could gain maximum exposure for Alonso's involvement this year, with the cumulative audience in the country growing six-fold on the 2017 season to over 138 million.
The success of Alonso's team, Toyota Gazoo Racing, also boosted coverage in Japan, with the cumulative audience increasing to 11.72 million. The popularity in Japan of another F1 world champion, Jenson Button, contributed to this trend.
In addition, all five races received more consistent coverage in the USA with Motor Trend (formerly Velocity) delivering over 60 hours of programming across the five races.
The cumulative news audience also saw an increase, rising by 139% in total.
Stephan Herth, Infront Senior Vice-President said: "When we renewed our partnership with WEC last year it was with the knowledge and belief that endurance racing remains a draw for motorsport fans. We knew the quality of racing was going to be a major attraction for viewers and having a number of high-profile names involved only adds to the value of the series."
Gérard Neveu, CEO FIA WEC said: “The growth in viewing figures across traditional broadcast and digital platforms is extremely encouraging, particularly in an increasingly crowded and ever-changing motorsport market. It is reassuring to see the engagement that fans around the world have with endurance racing, and the positive impact this has for our championship’s partners. Our work, of course, continues unceasingly and we face the remainder of the Super Season with huge optimism."
The 2018/19 WEC Super Season continues with the 1000 Miles of Sebring in the USA on 15 March.
Infront is a leading international sports marketing group with a comprehensive portfolio of top associations and sports clubs. The company covers all aspects of successful top-level sporting events - from the distribution of media and marketing rights over media production up to operational implementation and digital solutions. The company is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland.
The WEC is the most successful and fan-followed international sportscar championship in the world, offering motor manufacturers a real-world relevance to advances in road car design and crossover technology, performance and safety. Strong, stable regulations allow for complex yet beautiful sports prototypes, with technology from the latest in hybrid technology to sophisticated, independent chassis competing at the highest levels, and the world’s leading luxury car marques going head-to-head in the GT categories. Over 34 cars are on track at the same time, leading to action, excitement, endless passing and entertainment for fans worldwide.
The WEC offers teams, drivers, partners and stakeholders a unique stage on which to compete, at premier race circuits around the world. Ranked alongside the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the soccer World Cup, the cornerstone of the WEC remains one of the world’s greatest sporting events, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June each year. The championship regularly contests an 8-round calendar across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East – a true World Championship.