Sveriges Television (SVT) said up to one in five people who watched television in the country during Rally Sweden were blown away by the spectacular action of the frozen forests around Umeå.
“At a time when fewer and fewer people are watching linear TV, the viewing figures for Rally Sweden are rising – and this year’s competition has been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine,” explained Ulf Nilsson, CEO project at SVT Sport.
“The reach has reached over 400,000 and the number of viewers 20%, which means that a fifth of all people watching television at the time have chosen to watch the show since the rally. It is impressive.
The numbers peaked at 417,000 viewers for the Sunday lunchtime live coverage of the rally’s closing Sarsjöliden Wolf Power Stage, with 405,000 viewers for the Saturday evening live broadcast of the Umeå test.
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The numbers for SVT’s game-on-demand service were equally strong. “They have more than doubled compared to 2020 [the previous edition of Rally Sweden]. We had over 530,000 starts, that exceeds our expectations,” Nilsson added.
After being canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic, the WRC’s only purely winter round has moved from its traditional home in Värmland to the Västerbotten region, with the university town of Umeå proving an extremely popular host.
The nearby forest roads provided perfect winter driving conditions and after the WRC Rally Promoter, the championship’s commercial rights holder, confirmed a new two-year deal to keep Rally Sweden in the series until 2024.
“We are once again in black and white about the incredible strength of interest in Rally Sweden,” said event CEO Glenn Olsson, CEO. “This year’s numbers are possibly the best we’ve ever had given the conditions and changing media landscape in recent years.”