World Rally Championship Coming to Zagreb? Croatia Given Green Light

Daniela Rogulj

February 21, 2020 – The director of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Oliver Ciesla, visited Zagreb and officially offered Croatia the host spot of the WRC, according to the Croatian Auto and Karting Association.

HRTurizam and 24 Sata report that Croatia has never been closer to hosting the second most-watched octane sport in the world. WRC leader Oliver Ciesla held a series of meetings in Zagreb with the President and Secretary-General of the Croatian Auto and Karting Association, the City of Zagreb, and potential organizers. October was proposed as a potential date for the race, and Zagreb was given the opportunity to host the World Rally this year. The City of Zagreb supports the project and expressed its wish for Zagreb to host an event that boasts over 80 million fans.

“We plan to get the nomination, and if all goes well by the end of the year, all the doors are open to Croatia to become part of the Rally World Championship in the future,” said Oliver Ciesla, WRC director.

“After seven years of talks about hosting the WRC in Croatia, we have an official offer, after which the WRC’s door opens. The importance of this event for Croatia is also supported by the Croatian Government, the City of Zagreb and other institutions. I hope that in the next ten days, the expert teams will conclude all the essentials for the end of the year to become a candidate. Thanks to the Mayor, our organizing team, and, of course, the WRC promoter for the offer. There are a lot of negotiations ahead, but we are on the right track,” said Davorin Štetner, president of the Croatian Auto and Karting Association

The story of the WRC in Croatia began by Croatia’s celebrated rally drivers Daniel Saškin and Marin Frčko, and after almost seven years of work on the project, this official offer is the result.

The World Rally Championship is monitored by more than 700 million viewers annually, of which four million viewers tracked the 13 WRC races in 2016, while the World Rally Championship is monitored by 1350 accredited journalists, producing over 12,000 TV hours. The WRC program is broadcast in 155 countries.

Profitability studies from 2018 prepared by the Faculty of Economics and Tourism from Pula, led by Robert Zenzerović, the Ethical Financing Cooperative from Zagreb, and a short study by the Department of Economics and Sport Management at the Faculty of Kinesiology in Zagreb, led by Sanela Škorić et al. Mat Bartoluci from the Faculty of Economics and Business, Zagreb, and data from other WRC races in the world, proves that this project is of great benefit to the Republic of Croatia.

In the most conservative calculations, the spending generated would be 22 million euro. The direct profit for the state, through VAT alone, is at least four million euro, while the indirect profit of the project through media is a considerable 41 million euro.

Official WRC data in Portugal for 2016 show that 910,000 viewers watched the WRC live stream (50% were foreigners; half of them were from neighboring Spain). The direct impact on the Portuguese economy amounted to a staggering 67.6 million euro, while the indirect profit amounted to 61.7 million euro. In regards to tourism, Portugal earns more than 1.5 million overnights a year from WRC alone!

The WRC would be a great promotion of Croatia and another global spectacle held in the country. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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