Infront retains WEC global rights sales role
Infront, the international sports marketing agency, has signed a new three-year deal to continue distributing the worldwide broadcasting rights to the FIA World Endurance Championship, the series of long-distance sports car races that includes the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours.
The agreement with WEC promoter Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the French organiser of Le Mans, covers the 2018-19 to 2020-21 seasons and includes all live and delayed programming, and magazine and news access rights across all platforms.
Infront replaced rival IMG as the marketer of international rights to the WEC in a three-year deal signed in 2015.
This year, the WEC moved from a traditional annual race calendar to a cross-year format with the Le Mans 24 Hours as the final round. To make the transition, the first season has been dubbed a 'Super Season', lasting 14 months and comprising eight different races, including two editions of Le Mans.
Organisers said the first three races of this season reached a cumulative audience of over 200 million, with worldwide coverage of the Le Mans 24 Hours in almost 200 countries.
Stephan Herth, Infront senior vice-president, said: "This season's FIA WEC has already been a huge success thanks to the new format as well as its ability to attract world class drivers – and we are only halfway through. For us, that is a clear sign that this series remains a huge draw for motorsport fans and we are pleased to be able to add our expertise within the world of media rights to help bring the races to an ever-expanding audience."
Gérard Neveu, chief executvie of FIA WEC, added: "Working with Infront is a great pleasure, and we are very happy they have embraced our Super Season format with such enthusiasm. That energy in marketing our media rights, together with the excellent quality of competitors we have in the WEC this year, has seen an increase in TV viewing figures for the first three races of this year. This is very rewarding for everyone concerned, and we are confident that our visibility will continue to grow in the seasons to come."
Last year, Infront struck a four-year renewal with France Télévisions, the public-service broadcaster, to keep Le Mans on free-to-air television in the country until at least 2020.
The ACO has a contract in place with the FIA, the sport's international governing body, to promote the WEC until the end of the 2020 season.