Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge watched by record TV audience

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, a round of the Cross Country Rally World Championships for both cars and motorcycles, has seen a 366% rise in television viewing figures from 2015 to 2016, a report produced by the event organizers has confirmed.

HE Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak AL Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development and Chairman of the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare, recently received Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), to be presented with a report containing the figures concerning the 26th edition of the event.

Sheikh Al Nahyan personally visited the event several times this year to lend his support, and praised the work of both the Abu Dhabi Government and ATCUAE in delivering a safe and successful event each year.

The report indicated that the 26th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, part of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup and the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, staged in April 2016 was seen by a global audience of more than 370 million.

Over 350 million viewers watched the highlights distributed to television networks around the world by leading sports television production company Sunset and Vine, as well as viewing the features on the vent in their own famous sports magazine shows, ‘Gillette World of Sport’ and ‘Mobil 1: The Grid’.

Further to the rise in television viewers, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge highlights are also currently being shown on several international airlines, including Etihad, Qatar Airways and Finnair.

“The figures are impressive, and we’re confident of growing the TV audience further in the years ahead,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who founded the Desert Challenge in 1991.

“We expect next year’s 27th edition to attract a bigger and better entry, based on stronger support from teams in both the Middle East and abroad, which will ensure that media and public interest continues to grow.”

“We’re very grateful to the Abu Dhabi government for their continued crucial support that they provide us with in our quest to maintain the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge as the leading event in both World Championships. The visit made by HE Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan has also added a new dimension to the event, which is followed by rally lovers from around the world”, concluded Ben Sulayem.