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By Hans Erik Naess (auth.)

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Extra info for A Sociology of the World Rally Championship: History, Identity, Memories and Place

Example text

Because brands simplify the otherwise complex nature of the product, or the experience, it was vital that the brand captured the eclectics of the WRC as well as conveying them in a jargon-free manner that could appeal both to new and existing fans, sponsors and teams. This strategy brought both ups and downs. Leaving aside the popular game named after WRC Driver’s champion in 1995, Colin McRae, the ISC-officially licensed World Rally Championship series was the game that really broke the electronic barrier for the PlayStation generation.

The introduction of these new rules also meant that a promoter wishing to establish an international series was forced to assign the television rights for that series, whether it wished to or not, to a competing promoter, namely the FIA. Later, the FIA also passed the rights to all its other directly sanctioned championships and events to Ecclestone, for 15 years (Lovell, 2004, pp. 254–56). Dissatisfaction with Ecclestone’s favouring of F1 resulted in the formation of World Rally Teams Association (WRTA) in 1994, co-founded by former WRC driver and Toyota Team Europe’s team principal, Ove Andersson, who, until his passing in 2008, was seen as one of the stand-up guys in the WRC.

More than a decade prior to the 2011 crisis, those involved in WRC needed to contend with profound changes in the way the entire sport was organised. In 1995, two motorsport historians observed that even in rallying, ‘the battle for commercial advantages is almost as fraught as that on the special stages’, while adding: ‘Teams of PR people crash out information, herd journalists from one place to another, and fight for attention from radio and TV crews in an effort to score more publicity for their sponsors.

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