London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic rights split
British broadcaster Channel 4 has outbid the BBC to secure the media rights to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, after agreeing a deal with the London 2012 organising committee, ensuring the Olympic and Paralympic Games are shown on different channels.
The deal is said to be worth UK£5 million (US$8 million); its significance was underlined by Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London organising committee, who said: "The commercial value of this deal has raised the bar financially for the Paralympic movement."
IMG Media and Sunset + Vine will be involved in producing Channel 4's coverage of the event, which will take place shortly after the 2012 Olympic Games in July 2012. The broadcaster has committed to showing 150 hours of coverage over the 12 days of the event, 130 of which will be on its main channel. It has secured multi-platform rights to the Games and will entirely re-brand its channel for the duration of competition. In the build-up to the Games it will also showcase Paralympic sports.
The BBC's deal to show the London 2012 Olympic Games is unaffected. However the corporation will regard losing out on the Paralympics for the first time since 1980 as a major blow. Sky, who had previously expressed an interest in bidding for the Paralympics, are not believed to have submitted a bid.
In a change of policy, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed the local organsing team to sell the television rights to the Paralympics after agreeing a deal with the International Paralympic Committee. All other Olympic television contracts are negotiated by the IOC rather than host city management. "Channel 4 shares our vision for the Paralympic Games, has a very strong appeal to young people, and will play a hugely important role in increasing public engagement and involvement in Paralympic sport in this country," Coe said.
Kevin Lygo, Channel 4's director of television and content, added: "Channel 4 has done more than any other broadcaster to bring disability into the mainstream and we have a great track record of broadcast innovation with sports like Test cricket. We are genuinely thrilled to be given this opportunity to work with LOCOG to bring Paralympic sport into full public focus before, during and beyond the 2012 Games and to deliver a lasting legacy, including altering public attitudes to disability and disability sport."
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- Length of contract: 1 year
- Annualised value: 1 year
- Overall value: US$8 million
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