Channel 4 lands UK TV rights to two Paralympic Games

Mere months after the broadcaster won plaudits for its coverage of the 2012 London Paralympic Hames, Channel 4 has been awarded the UK television rights for the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games following a highly competitive tender process.

The deal with Channel 4 includes multi-platform broadcast rights within the UK. As part of the agreement, the broadcaster will screen more than 45 hours of coverage from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games – the most ever by a British broadcaster.

In the lead-up to Rio 2016, the broadcaster will also show coverage of major international para-sport events, including July’s IPC Athletics World Championships from Lyon, France, and August’s IPC Swimming World Championships, which will take place in Montreal, Canada.

For Rio 2016 Channel 4 is planning round-the-clock coverage of the Games with a commitment to screening a minimum of 200 broadcast hours across Channel 4’s portfolio including live coverage and highlights. Channel 4 will also build on the three live streams of coverage it offered for London 2012 on digital platforms and, in total, will broadcast over 500 hours of coverage from Rio.

In the lead-up to the 2012 Games, Channel 4 identified and trained 10 new presenters and reporters with disabilities who played major roles across the coverage. The broadcaster expects that a number of that team will again be part of a presenting line-up that, for Sochi and Rio, that will also feature well-known presenters and sports journalists. One of the channel’s new reporters will also be developed to become a dedicated Paralympic Correspondent on Channel 4 News.

Sir Philip Craven, president of IPC, comments: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Channel 4 following its stunning success in covering the London 2012 Paralympic Games. With London 2012 Channel 4 created a blueprint for how a commercial broadcaster can raise the profile of Paralympic sport and its athletes to new levels. They reached record audiences, in particular young people, identified and developed some fantastic new presenting talent and played a significant role in delivering seismic shifts in attitudes and perceptions towards people with an impairment in the UK.

“They have promised to build on this fantastic work over the next four years and we look forward to working with them as they help contribute to the IPC’s vision of enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence to inspire and excite the world.

“This is the first time the IPC has agreed a two-Games deal with a TV station and I would like to thank Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 for their support and cooperation. To sign up such a high quality broadcaster so soon after the conclusion of the Games underlines the growth of the Paralympic Movement and the significant impact London 2012 had.”

David Abraham, Channel 4’s chief executive, adds: “The London 2012 Paralympic Games was a landmark moment in the history of broadcasting Paralympic sport. Not only did Channel 4’s coverage reach record audiences but, more importantly, it had a meaningful and positive impact on UK attitudes to disability and disability sport in general. I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to build on this achievement over the next four years and to work alongside the IPC to deliver both the Winter Games from Sochi in 2014 and the Summer Games from Rio in 2016.”

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