Tokyo 2020 Paralympics facts and figures for record-breaking broadcast

The Paralympic 2020 Agitos being installed in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront area ahead of the start of the Games

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics is set to break all broadcast viewing records according to the International Paralympics Committee (IPC).

With the Opening Ceremony taking place on 24 August, there are more broadcasters, increased coverage levels, and more live sport being shown globally, which is due to bring in an estimated cumulative TV audience of 4.25 billion people.

The IPC said that the expected increased coverage and higher numbers of broadcasters makes it highly likely Tokyo 2020 will surpass the 4.1 billion cumulative viewers who enjoyed the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Record breaking number of broadcasters

In total, the Games will be covered by more than 150 television, radio and online outlets in a record 177 territories.

Thanks to increased investment from broadcasters, live coverage from 21 disciplines across 19 sports – more than ever before – will be available to broadcasters via host broadcaster, Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS). As a result, many broadcasters are planning to show more hours of coverage.

Alexis Schaefer, the IPC’s commercial, partnerships and broadcasting director, said: “With more live sport available to broadcasters than ever before, I am confident we will break all viewing records for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

“The role of broadcasters in screening the Games has never been more important given there are no international spectators and limited domestic crowds.  But the increase in the number of broadcasters and their levels of coverage is testament to the appeal of the Paralympic Games and the elite sporting performances of Para athletes.

“We have also seen with the launch of WeThe15 this week how important the Paralympic Games are in the global conversation on persons with disabilities. In addition to delivering exciting and entertaining world-class sporting action from Tokyo, broadcasters are also telling the stories of Paralympians to inspire the next generation, challenge biases and stereotypes.  We are extremely grateful to all rightsholders for helping to share the outstanding performances and powerful narratives with billions of viewers around the world.”

Massive coverage

In terms of Paralympic Games coverage, NHK, Japan’s long-standing Paralympic broadcaster, is leading the way with more than 540 hours of coverage planned. This is more than any previous host nation broadcaster and exceeds the 500 hours of coverage Channel 4 produced of London 2012; this year Channel 4 will produce over 300 hours of TV over the Channel 4 and More4 channels, and a brand new microsite that will allow fans to view over 1,000 hours of sports coverage over 16 live streams. In addition, 70 per cent of its on-screen presenters are persons with a disability.

In the US, host nation of the LA28 Paralympics, NBC will be showing more than 1,200 hours of Games coverage across all platforms, as will Channel Seven in Australia and CBC in Canada.

The growing interest and participation in the Paralympic Games is evident across continents as more major broadcasters come on board to bring coverage of the Games and showcase homegrown athletes.

In Africa, comprehensive Games coverage is led by pay TV broadcaster SuperSport in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, and public broadcaster South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in South Africa.

For the first time in history, the Games will also be widely shown on free-to-air TV channels in 49 territories in Sub-Saharan Africa reaching more than 250 million people, thanks to Para Sport Against Stigma, a partnership between the IPC, Loughborough University, and the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, which aims to support social change and overcome stigma and discrimination against persons with disabilities in Africa.

In Asia, with the support of Reddentes Sports, IPC’s Official Media Rights Partner in Asia, the Paralympic Games have brought on new broadcast partners in Asia and will be entering new territories.

The Hong Kong Government secured coverage rights for six broadcasters including FTA broadcasters, RTHK and TVB, pay TV platforms including Hong Kong Cable Television and NowTV, and other platforms including ViuTV and Hong Kong Open TV, guaranteeing that the Games will be available across all platforms.

Indonesian media group Emtek, through its subsidiary Indonesia Entertainment Group (IEG), is bringing 125 hours of live competition coverage on top of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and daily highlights coverage to Indonesia via free-to-air (O Channel), pay-TV (Champions TV), and OTT (Vidio).

In Malaysia, satellite and IPTV broadcaster Astro will be providing daily coverage of the Games.

In another first, ELTA TV, the sole gatekeeper of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Taiwan, have joined forces with ChungHwa Telecom(MOD/Hami) and Public Television Service (PTS) and Eastern Broadcasting Company (EBC) to bring the Paralympic Games to Taiwanese viewers for the very first time.

In Philippines, pay TV sports network Tap TV have committed to broadcast the Opening and Closing ceremonies, as well as daily highlights.

In Singapore, Mediacorp will bring viewers the ‘live’ telecast of the Opening and Closing ceremonies, daily highlights and coverage of Team Singapore events,  for free on its digital entertainment service meWATCH and free-to-air TV station Mediacorp Channel 5.

In Thailand, Plan B with its sublicensee AIS, PPTV, T-Sport and Thai PBS will provide extensive coverage of the Games on top of its coverage of Thai athletes.

IPC also partnered with IPC member, Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) which went on to grant broadcasting rights to pay TV Eurosport India and public broadcaster Doordarshan show live action, delayed broadcasts and highlights from events which feature Indian athletes and teams.

In Middle East and North Africa, pan-region broadcaster beIN Sports will be bringing daily highlights of the Games to 25 territories in the region.

In Latin America, Argentinian free-to-air broadcasters TV Pública and DeporTV will be providing a wide-ranging coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with live, delayed and highlights coverage, and special features across their linear, online and social media platforms.

In Brazil, TV major Globo’s free-to-air and Pay TV coverage is complemented by public broadcaster TV Brasil (EBC) which will be covering the Paralympic Games in partnership with the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, forming a dedicated team of journalists who will be reporting from Tokyo, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, to provide round-the-clock news updates of the performance of Brazilian Para athletes to their audience via Brazilian news and media outlets including National TV and radio, complementing the live or delayed competitions and daily highlights coverage.

In Chile, public service broadcaster Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) will be presenting the Paralympic Games on National TV in Chile for the first time, committing to use the reach of their broadcast platforms to change people’s perceptions of persons with different abilities. Santiago will host the 2023 Parapan American Games.

In Mexico, another new broadcast partnership is found in Univision’s Spanish-language sports channel TUDN, which will bring hours of live and highlights coverage to the Mexican market.

British beginnings

Tokyo will make history as the first city to stage the Paralympic Games for a second time, having hosted the event in 1964.

The Paralympic Games were founded by Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a Jewish doctor who fled Nazi Germany to England, where he opened a spinal injuries centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The first edition of the Stoke Mandeville Games – predecessor of the Paralympics – was held on 29 July 1948, with 16 injured servicemen and women competing in archery.

The Stoke Mandeville Games later became the Paralympic Games, which first took place in Rome, Italy, in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. The IPC was founded in 1989 to act as the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement.

A record number of female athletes will compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. At least 40.5% of all the athletes will be women, according to the IPC Qualification Criteria. This equates to 1,782 athletes, an increase on the 1,671 women who competed at Rio 2016 (38.6%).

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