Channel 4 to broadcast 2012 Paralympics
LONDON - Channel 4 has scooped the rights to broadcast the London 2012 Paralympic Games from the BBC in a multi-million pound deal which promises to incorpoate the biggest marketing campaign in the event's 50-year history.
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The appointment ends a 30-year association the Paralympics has had with the BBC and follows what the London Organising Committee (Locog) describes as "a highly competitive tender process".
The commercial value of this deal has reportedly "raised the bar financially" for the Paralympic movement, although a Channel 4 spokesman played down the size of the deal, saying: "We are not talking about hundreds of millions."
Channel 4 will be completely rebranded with a Paralympic theme after the end of the London 2012 Olympic Games.The deal includes multi-platform broadcast rights within the UK.
Channel 4 will also produce and screen two-peak time, 10-part documentaries in 2011 and 2012, designed to build the stories of the athletes and their journey to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
In addition, there will be dedicated coverage of the Paralympic Torch Relay, as part of more than 150 hours of TV coverage - more than any of its predecessors.
Sebastian Coe, chairman of London 2012, said he was "absolutely delighted" to appoint Channel 4 as the new broadcast partner in the UK.
He cited the broadcaster's "shared vision" for the Paralympic Games, and its ability to play "a hugely important role in increasing public engagement and involvement in Paralympic sport in this country".
After the Olympics, the Paralympic Games is the world's second biggest multisport event, and Coe hopes the London event will "raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, inspire understanding, and communicate the Paralympic values of determination, courage, inspiration and equality".
He added: "We are confident that the quality and depth of the broadcast coverage provided by Channel 4 not just for the 12 days of sport in 2012, but in the two-and-a- half years leading up to the Games, will inspire disabled people of all ages to take up sport and be a catalyst for continued change in public attitudes towards disability."
Channel 4 will also cover key disability sports and sporting events in the run-up to the Paralympics.
Lord Burns, chairman designate of Channel 4, said: "For Channel 4, the London Paralympic Games will be the main event, not a sideshow to the Olympics; the Games will define our year in 2012 and take over Channel 4 for their duration."
He added: "The Paralympics will be one of the most significant sporting events to be staged in Britain for many years and we are confident the more comprehensive and more cross-platform coverage we are offering, can connect the Games with the widest possible cross-section of British viewers."
Locog will begin the tender process for the international broadcast rights to the Paralympic Games later in the year.
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