TIME TO WATCH THE HEROS: Broadcasting Rights of Paralympics: A Review

Proposing a bid of 9 million; triumphing the exclusive broadcasting rights of London Paralympics 2012; a crowning bystander exposure of about 7.6 million—British Broadcaster Channel 4 had indisputably thru its way very discreetly. Their call for the broadcasting rights of Paralympics was 4 cwf1million higher than BBC, one of the supreme and widespread news means in the globe. The proprietors of Channel 4 appraised an onlooker attention of nearly 2.5 million after winning the bid. But, with a thud the live reportage of the opening ceremony of London Paralympics 2012 by Channel 4, acquired a smash coverage of 11.2 million watchers. This gave Channel 4 a 25.7% share of the peak time audience. Channel 4′s all-day segment, of 19.8%, audience was also the biggest of any channel. They obtained 150 hours of live coverage of the various Paralympic games. Bestowing to the unofficial statistics, this spectacular audience range is the prevalent one in the last 10 years. The preceding topmost audience for a Paralympics opening ceremony was 2.8 million for the BBC’s propagation of the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008.



cwf2Channel 4, did bid for the TV broadcasting rights Beijing Paralympic Games 2008 as well. But BBC formerly employed the singular broadcasting rights to televise Beijing Paralympic games 2012. This time Channel 4 thumped at the right stint and with the right bidding. Channel 4 manufactured a key shock in January 2010 when it was bestowed the broadcast rights for the London 2012 Paralympics ahead of BBC, which had presented every Game since Arnhem 1980. But there were few whinges on Twitter from some viewers about advertising halts during the airing of Paralympic games and the tenor of Jon Snow’s commentary on the parade of athletes. Apart from some of these draw-backs, Channel 4 administrators were elated with the evaluations, which justified their surprise tender for the telecasting privileges of London Paralympics two years ago.

Conversely, two years after trailing the broadcasting rights for Paralympics, remorse still shots profound at BBC. It is ‘one of the biggest bloopers of all time’ according to the BBC legislatures. There were prompt probes about why BBC is not showcasing London Paralympic Games. It is a share of BBC’s compasses of deeds to fuel exactly this sort of minority event akin to Paralympics. Thus, after a mighty and remarkable treatment of London Olympics, it was indeed a great loss that BBC was not being capable to continue seamless weeks of upgrade to enterprise London Paralympics as well. BBC has a record of enormous handling and coverage of sports for disabled, but this time they botched to last with the record.

Good news was awaiting for Channel 4. Charted by a highly competitive bidding process, Channel 4 has secured the Television broadcasting rights of Sochi Winter Paralympics 2014 and Rio 2016. Channel 4 will air 45 hours coverage from Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, which will be the highest for any British Broadcaster. Channel 4 is planning round the clock coverage from Rio, comprising of live coverages, highlights and some shows which was a big smash during the 2012 Paralympic Games. In total, it will deliver 500 broadcasting hours of reportage from Rio Paralympics, 2016.

It is very much ostensible that there was colossal competition amid two rival channels in order to peruse TV broadcasting rights for Paralympics.  But the outfit is not alike in every dominion. In several countries there was no bidding from any TV channel for the broadcasting rights of Paralympics. There were many nations where the spectators were not been able to relish the games of Paralympics. Many countries were dispossessed from screening the sincere talents of the world who have derived through an elongated way to gross their enduring position.

Let’s see the status quo of TV broadcasting rights for Paralympics in some kingdoms:


cwf3Fans and onlookers were extremely and awfully thwarted about the coverage of London Paralympics 2012, in the USA. US broadcaster NBC only bared four hour long highlight packages of the Paralympic games on its Sports Channels. Some of these highlights were aired only after the 11 day happening of Paralympics. No game was shown live on television in the United States. This trifling amount of treatment of London Paralympics was indeed very inadequate. Several online entreaties were filed to persuade major U.S. networks to screen Paralympic Sports. Where the watchers of many other countries like Germany, France, Australia etc. were enjoying and adoring the rousing games of Paralympics 2012, the spectators of USA had to placate themselves with the four hour trivial reportage of London Paralympics, 2012.







The Canadian Paralympic committee proclaimed both the television and online gushing coverage of the London Paralympics, 2012.  The Opening ceremonial of 2012 Paralympic games was disseminated on CTV, TSN2, Sportsnet ONE, RDS, RDS2 and AMI. The inaugural ritual was curtained live on RDS2 from 3.30pm (local time) on 29th August. The ceremony also got repeated on TNS2 and AMI from 9pm (local time) on that day only. Daily highlights of the day’s best recitals, interviews of medal conqueror athletes were also featured from 10pm to 11pm till 8th September on TNS2 and Sportsnet ONE. Sports ONE and AMI completely covered the closing ceremony of 2012 Paralympic Games.


Aside all these the Canadian Channels were vastly being critiqued for not programing any Paralympic affair live on television. Canadians were not being able to adulate the games live, to relish the live actions and emotions.




For the London Paralympics 2012, ABC TV was stocking the exclusive Television broadcasting rights. They showed splendid coverage of the encouraging Paralympic games on ABC1, ABC2 and online cwf5on ABC iview. The spectacular opening ceremony of Paralympics, 2012 got viewed live from London on ABC1 at 5.20am August 30.  The live exposure of the games took place each morning and evening which started from August 30. The morning sessions got streamed live from 4am-8.30am on ABC1 and the evening sessions got streamed live from 7pm-11pm on ABC2. ABC1 also broadcasted daily highlights from 6pm-7pm every day. The online coursing of the games concluded with the closing ceremony at 5.20am on September 10. ABC1 relayed the closing ceremony live on September 10, at 5.20am.

ABC News came up with a matchless idea. Online they asked the Australians to evoke their much-loved game climaxes and to designate the stand-out athletes. The Australians countered massively with their favourite ticks and athletes. And it was vibrant from those colossal retorts, that Australians were greatly pleased and blissful with the all-encompassing treatment of London Paralympics, 2012 by ABC TV.



cwf6London Paralympics 2012—A breakthrough for Brazil. At the Beijing Paralympics 2008, Brazil resolved the 9th position. But they have clinched the 7th position at London Paralympics. With this taming show of the Brazilian Para-athletes, extensive revelation of Paralympics 2012 has chance upon the desired acclaim. In Brazil, Paralympics 2012 were broadcasted only on cable. TV Globo, one of Brazil’s most popular TV channels credited the broadcasting rights of London Paralympics 2012. All mainstream media of Brazil conducted their correspondents to London. Thus, the games were widely reported especially the opening and closing ceremony.

However, the way of today’s ‘all-embracing’ coverage of Paralympics in Brazil was not easy. Prior to Athens Paralympics 2004, Paralympics was not rampant and hence was not esteemed in Brazil. The National Paralympics Committee of Brazil decided to feature Paralympics on TV to amend the scenario. However, convincing the broadcasters for screening Paralympics on TV was formidable. A very few Brazilian broadcasters bared some notice after seeing footages of the games, but were least keen on forfeiting money for broadcasting rights or sending their stringers to Athens. As a solution to this, the Brazilian NPC bought TV rights of Athens Paralympics 2004; they allotted a production company and gave 13 Brazilian TV channels everything for free; they even waged for all journalists’ overheads to fly to Greece to cover the game. Coverage of Paralympics in Brazil has underway from there. Brazilian TV broadcasted 168 hours of live coverage and news from the Athens Games, where the team won six gold medals and one silver medal.



cwf7The London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympics Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) proclaimed that the Paralympic Games, 2012 will be broadcasted to more people in more countries than ever before. To undertake this agenda, LOCOG signed deals with leading broadcasters of various major countries around the world. In 11 countries broadcasting rights have been retailed for the first time and Iran is one of those countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) credited the broadcasting rights of London Paralympics 2012. IRIB is one of the biggest Public Service Broadcasting in the world. IRIB has 10 nationwide TV channels, 32 local TV stations functioning at the provincial level and 13 nationwide radio networks. Iran acquired a wide-range of handling of the London Paralympics, 2012. Iranians were receiving information and news about Iran’s performance at the 2012 Paralympic Games from the reportage of IRIB.




 Some countries were given the Television broadcasting rights of Paralympics for the first time. These Right Holding broadcasters are as follows:


LOCOG had contracted a covenant with SKY NZ of New Zealand providing them with the Television Broadcasting Rights of London Paralympics, 2012. SKY NZ is the principal sports broadcaster in New Zealand and is a satellite pay television service which transmits digital satellite television.






The Television Broadcasting Rights of Paralympic Games 2012 were itemised to Setanta, a subscription constructed Irish sports channel featuring local and international sporting events by LOCOG. The watchers of Ireland could access the coverage of various Paralympic sporting events at a worthy level.




Singapore is one the 11 countries where the Broadcasting Rights of Paralympics had been traded for the first time. MediaCrop of Singapore was crofting the Television broadcasting Rights of 2012 London Paralympics. MediaCorp is Singapore’s leading media company with the most complete range of platforms, spanning television, radio, newspapers, magazines, movies, digital and out-of-home media. The onlookers of Singapore enjoyed a fine reportage of the various Paralympic affairs this year.


TEVES is a public sector broadcaster and is one of Venezuela’s leading broadcasters. TEVES was the official broadcaster of Paralympics 2012 in Venezuela. It has a great record on international sport transmissions such as World Cup South Africa 2010, the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games and the London 2012 Olympic Games where they aired 200 hours of coverage.


The Mongolian Paralympic Committee have attained the broadcasting rights of the London Paralympics 2012, on behalf of the channel TV-5. They are the leading broadcaster in Mongolia and in the past have broadcasted the 2004 Olympics in Athens.


The National Paralympic Committee of Pakistan had commenced the broadcasting rights of Paralympics 2012, with the Games being shown on a national or regional broadcaster.

Now let’s place some light on India:



GIRISHA in action

HM GIRISHA—a hero; a zealous Indian Para-athlete who has achieved a silver in high jump at the London Paralympics 2012. Regrettably, millions of Indian viewers couldn’t witness the incredible conquest of HN Girisha in the F-42 High Jump category. At one hand, this year the International Paralympic Committee anticipated the largest viewership ever for Paralympics. London Paralympics, 2012 has been broadcasted in 93 countries in some way or the other. On the other hand, there was no channel in India who had sited a bid for the broadcasting rights of Paralympic Games 2012. What a contrast! The only route for a live spectacle of the Paralympic game actions and dealings was the IPC website featuring the games through a Smart player.

India first partaken in Paralympic games in the year 1968. Now it’s 2012. It’s been 44 years that India is participating at the Paralympics. But lamentably, still the cognizance about Paralympics is almost zero. One of the key reasons of this is Indian media’s negligence and laxity towards Paralympics; towards the real heroes of their motherland. After the startling triumph of Girisha, the only picture of the win that was roving the internet was the one from Reuters which was the sole still photograph of Girisha’s victory; and the sole coverage of Girisha. How can a still photograph be used to designate a victory that too in an electronic medium. No Indian media had covered HN Girisha, forget about the broadcasting rights of Paralympics. There were no talk shows, no interviews, and no debates. The sweats of our heroes thus got lost.

cwf11If 93 countries including many third world nations like Iran, Pakistan etc. can on air the Paralympic Games, then why not India? In India people have a very considerate outlook towards disability. Hence, In India it’s almost an emergence to programme Paralympics so that the talents of HM Girisha or Sharath M Gayakwad or Sachin choudhury doesn’t go in vain. Now the question is, can India track any model mentioned above in terms of broadcasting and especially the Brazilian one where The Brazilian NPC bought the broadcasting rights and then furnished them to the TV channels for free.

Sports is something which cannot caressed unless and until it’s noticeable to the audience. The dedication, fervour and talent of an athlete needs to be foreseen to understand and appreciate a sport. Likewise, Paralympics fundamentally needs to come to notice. The concentrated perseverance and commitment of the Para-athletes needs to be perceptible. Only then people will recognize this rousing sports which is everything for the Para-athletes.

Broadcasting Paralympics will be a fantastic approach to change the impression of disability and disable people among the society. In terms of Games legacy, the marketing director of Channel 4 is in no doubt as to the broadcaster’s ambition: “The biggest result for us would be a step-change shift in public attitudes to disability, that is the big prize,” he says.

By Dhimoyee Debnath. 

Acknowledgement: I would like to acknowledge Shuvojit Moulik regarding the content and compilation of this review.


INDIAN TELEVISION: Let disputes replace talents in Indian Paralympics: http://cwf.co.in/indian-television-let-disputes-replace-talents-in-indian-paralympics/

The ABC has exclusive rights to the Paralympics: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/the-abc-has-exclusive-rights-to-the-paralympics/story-e6frg996-1226454323838

Watch Live – Paralympic Games 2012: http://www.abc.net.au/news/sport/paralympics/stream/

2012 London Paralympic Games: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/2012paralympicgames.htm

US Paralympics TV coverage disappointing, says chef de mission: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/aug/31/us-paralympics-tv-coverage-disappointing

Paralympic Games regret for BBC over Channel 4 TV rights, says Gary Lineker: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/aug/30/paralympics-regret-bbc-gary-lineker

Full TV coverage for Paralympics, just not in US: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=oly&id=8295913

Global TV deals for Paralympics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19396190

London 2012 Paralympics to be broadcast to largest audience: http://www.paralympic.org/news/london-2012-paralympics-be-broadcast-largest-audience

Paralympics brought to a close: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-10/paralympics-brought-to-a-close/4251854

Brazil: Paralympics: More Brazilian Admiration – September 2012: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/export/countries/americas/southamerica/brazil/premiumcontent/372520.html

BT and Channel 4 Presents… returns as Paralympians reflect on 2012: http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/bt-and-channel-4-presents-returns-as-paralympians-reflect-on-2012

Channel 4 sees late surge in Paralympic ads: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/news/channel-4-sees-late-surge-in-paralympic-ads/4003613.article

Channel 4 Secures 2014 and 2016 Paralympic Games rights: http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/channel-4-secures-2014-and-2016-paralympic-games-rights

Arif Durrani: Paralympics is the bullseye of C4′s remit: http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/news/1148635/Arif-Durrani-Paralympics-bullseye-C4s-remit/

London 2012 Paralympics to be broadcast to largest audience: http://www.paralympic.org/news/london-2012-paralympics-be-broadcast-largest-audience

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