A cumulative global audience of 4.25 billion people – a record total – is expected to tune in to the upcoming Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the International Paralympic Committee has said.
According to the IPC, the combination of an increased number of broadcasters and more live sport means the games, which will take place from 24 August to 5 September, will deliver an audience larger than the 4.1 billion cumulative that tuned in for the 2016 Rio Paralympics (the previous record).
In total, over 150 television, radio and online media outlets worldwide will cover the games, in 177 territories, which is more than for any previous edition.
Alexis Schaefer, director of commercial, partnerships and broadcasting at the IPC, said: “The role of broadcasters in screening the games has never been more important given there are no international spectators and limited domestic crowds [due to Covid-19 precautions]. 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.”
Unsurprisingly, host Japan will lead the way when it comes to coverage hours, with free-to-air commercial broadcaster NHK having over 540 hours of content planned, more than any other host broadcaster at a previous games.
In the USA meanwhile, long-time Paralympics broadcast partner NBC will be showing over 1,200 hours of coverage across all platforms (linear and digital), while Channel Seven in Australia and CBC in Canada have committed to close to the same number.
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CBC will offer live daily broadcasts, with 68 hours of coverage live, and over 950 hours available via the dedicated CBC Gem free streaming service. 21 disciplines from 19 sports will feature.
As well as this, the broadcaster will offer coverage highlights every morning (local time) after the previous night’s action from Tokyo.
In the UK, commercial free-to-air network Channel 4 will make 1,500 hours available in total – 1,200 on its digital sites and 300 on TV.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Qatar-based international sports broadcaster BeIN will be bringing daily highlights to viewers in 25 countries, while Supersport, the pay-TV giant, will provide coverage in sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition to this, the games will be broadcast free-to-air to an estimated 250 million people across 49 territories in sub-Saharan Africa, with daily 52-minute highlights packages being broadcast across the continent in English, French and Portuguese.
This pan-African broadcasting arrangement has been led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub in collaboration with the IPC, Loughborough University, and Chancellor College of the University of Malawi.
Among the operators involved are a number of public-service broadcasters, such as Gabon Télévisions, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and the Nigerian Television Authority, as well as the pan-continent French-speaking TV5 Monde Afrique.
Across Asia, meanwhile, impressive coverage levels have been secured in countries including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, while in India, public broadcaster Doordarshan and pay-TV’s Eurosport India will split rights between them.
Broadcast partners in South America include TVN in Chile and major broadcaster Globo in Brazil, while in Mexico the IPC has struck a new partnership with TUDN, the Spanish-language broadcaster owned by Univision.