WRC Promoter, the rights holder of motor racing’s World Rally Championship, has added the European Rally Championship to the series in its stable.
Munich-based WRC Promoter is replacing Eurosport Events, the events arm of the pan-European broadcaster, in taking on the commercial rights to the ERC, starting in 2022.
Eurosport Events has ended its contract one-year early to facilitate the deal.
The new multi-year agreement was confirmed at a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Monaco on Thursday, and the ERC becomes the fourth series represented by WRC Promoter.
Earlier this year, WRC Promoter was confirmed as the new promoter of the World and European Rallycross Championships in 2021 and, since then, Rallycross Promoter GmbH has been established with a view to concluding a multi-year promotional agreement.
Eurosport Events has managed the commercial rights to the ERC since 2013, and did have a 10-year contract running to 2022, but is withdrawing early to focus on its all-electric GT and touring car categories and promoting the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup.
Under a sporting pyramid established by the FIA this year, the ERC will serve as the primary support series to the WRC, with perceived advantages in having the two series managed by the same promoter.
In a statement, Jona Siebel, the managing director of WRC Promoter, said: “The FIA has entrusted the group with the commercial rights for another major championship. Having built a strong track record in promoting the WRC during the last nine seasons, we’re in a perfect position to add the ERC to our portfolio."
“We have a high level of organisational, promotional and broadcast experience in our team and look forward with great confidence to working alongside the FIA to develop the ERC as an integral part of the Rally Pyramid.
“We see strong growth potential in ERC, focused around Europe’s key markets. Our goal is to further cultivate its own identity, whilst at the same time ensuring it fits hand and glove with the WRC’s structure.”
Francois Ribeiro, head of Eurosport Events, added: “We are proud to hand over the reins of the ERC to WRC Promoter. Since 2013, Eurosport Events has been very consistent in partnership with the FIA to build a close relationship with our ERC customers, namely the rallies, teams, drivers, partners and broadcasters.
“It’s great credit to [ERC coordinator] Jean-Baptiste Ley’s leadership that the ERC is likely to reach 150 competitor entries by the end of the 2021 season, having never been so strong since 2013. It has always been a profitable exercise as a business case for a promoter.”