ITV has confirmed that it will broadcast next year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in high definition, and in the process stretch its coverage of the racing series to the 12th successive year since the championship was first covered by the broadcaster back in 2002.
ITV announced that it has reached an agreement with BTCC to provide TV coverage of the racing series for at least 3 more years. All the race days will be broadcast live on the ITV4 channel, while ITV1 will show highlights of the races.
In addition, the 2011 season of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be screened in HD on the ITV4 HD channel. Because ITV has signed an agreement with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) to put ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD channels exclusively on the Sky satellite TV platform, at the moment only subscribers to the Sky HD service will be able to watch live coverage of the touring car races in high definition. However, more viewers may be able to gain access to these live HD broadcasts in the future, as ITV is reported to be keen to strike deals with other TV network providers (e.g. Virgin Media) to carry its ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD channels.
Catering to the ever-growing online audience, ITV will also provide live streaming of all the BTCC races on its ITV Sport website, and highlights on the ITV Player catch-up TV service.
Both ITV and BTCC expressed their delight at the partnership. Alan James Gow, series director and administrator of the BTCC, said that ITV’s continued coverage of the racing series – especially in glorious high definition – will grow the sport’s fanbase. Calling the touring car races “exciting”, ITV Sport’s supremo Niall Sloane said that his team is proud to continue supporting the racing championship, and looked forward to working together with the BTCC for 3 further seasons.