Channel 4, the UK commercial broadcaster, has laid out plans for over 1,000 hours of coverage from the upcoming Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The broadcaster, which has a relationship with the International Paralympic Committee dating back to London 2012, and holds rights to the games through 2024, will offer up to 16 simultaneous live streams of action from the Japanese capital.
Having been postponed for a year because of Covid-19, the games run from 24 August to 5 September and Channel 4's daily coverage will include a Paralympics breakfast show, an early evening programme focusing on the ParalympicsGB team's achievements, and, taking into account the time difference, live coverage overnight from Japan.
There will be live production of the events from Tokyo, as well as analysis shows and highlights from the Channel 4 headquarters in Leeds in the UK
The More4 channel will be turned into a dedicated Paralympics outlet, focusing on team sports involving ParalympicsGB.
Ian Katz, director of programmes at Channel 4, said: "Channel 4 has long played a fundamental role in bringing a global audience to the Paralympic Games and for shifting perceptions of disabled people.
“We’re looking forward to bringing the best coverage possible to the British public so we can all get behind ParalympicsGB and celebrate their success in Tokyo.”
The London 2012 and Rio 2016 coverage on Channel 4 broke UK viewing records for the Paralympics, and the broadcaster extended its rights deal with the IPC for the Tokyo games after Rio.
Whisper, the UK-based production firm, will be in charge of producing the Tokyo 2020 live coverage for Channel 4, which will be sponsored by car manufacturer Toyota.
Even though they have been enjoying comprehensive free-to-air coverage via Channel 4, in January last year, the UK government officially added the summer and winter Paralympics to the country's ‘listed events’ – events that cannot be broadcast exclusively live on pay-television – marking the first time in 20 years that the list has been updated.
Between 2012 and 2016 Channel 4 showcased more hours of Paralympic sport than any other broadcaster in history and made household names of both athletes and presenters. Its 2016, its award-winning 'Superhumans' campaign was the most shared campaign globally of any Olympic or Paralympic partner, reaching over 48 million people around the world.
Meanwhile, Channel 4 has extended and expanded its strategic partnership with pay-TV broadcast giant Sky agreed in September 2019.
Channel 4 has said this will “extend the successful relationship, giving both parties more opportunities to collaborate, support commercial growth, and innovate as broadcasting evolves in the future.”
The main sporting feature of the extension is the renewal of the multi-year sub-licensing deal under which Formula 1 motor racing’s British Grand Prix is shown live on Channel 4.
The deal also includes Channel 4 having rights to show highlights from all other races and qualifying sessions throughout the season.
Sky holds exclusive rights to Formula 1 until the end of the 2024 season.