PRESS RELEASE published on 23 Aug 2021

EBU Members and licensees to set new European Paralympic Games live coverage record at Tokyo 2020

EBU Members’ coverage of the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is on course to exceed the record-breaking coverage seen at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

With this year’s delayed edition set to get underway tomorrow, 24 August 2021, over 50 EBU Members and licensees have already committed to extensive Games coverage on TV, radio and online, with others still expected to confirm their participation.

The overall duration of the planned live linear coverage of this year’s delayed Games by Members and licensees that have confirmed their intentions now exceeds 1200 hours, a figure which surpasses the 1100 hours achieved at Rio 2016.

Moreover, this figure looks certain to rise still further as more broadcasters confirm their intentions.

The International Paralympic Committee has estimated that a record cumulative global TV audience of 4.25 billion people are likely to watch the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic, more than 500 accredited staff from EBU Members/licensees will ensure full coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Games in Europe.

Highlights of Members’ planned coverage include:

  • Several Members and sub-licensees will significantly step up their levels of live linear coverage, including: ARD/ZDF (Germany) (61 hours versus 25 hours for Rio 2016); France Televisions (103 hours versus 90 hours for Rio 2016); ERT (Greece) (107 hours versus 71 hours for Rio 2016); YLE (Finland) (91 hours versus 50 hours for Rio 2016); and RTP (Portugal) (31 hours versus 17 hours for Rio 2016).
  • Extensive online coverage by Members will complement their linear coverage. For example, RTP (Portugal) will offer approximately 500 hours of online coverage in addition to its linear coverage, while TRT (Turkey) will provide 26 hours of additional live streaming online.
  • RTBF (Belgium) will almost triple the number of hours it dedicates to the Games, showing 16 hours versus six hours for Rio 2016.

Glen Killane, Executive Director of Eurovision Sport, said: “Once again, public service media across Europe and beyond are showing the value of free-to-air coverage in reaching the maximum number of viewers with the Paralympic Games’ message of inclusivity and great sporting action. Here at Eurovision Sport we’re looking forward to sharing the stories of these fantastic athletes with more new and existing Paralympic Games fans than ever before.”

Alexis Schäfer, the IPC’s Commercial, Partnerships & Broadcasting Director said: “The IPC has a long and deep relationship with public service broadcasters in Europe. With more live sport available to broadcasters at Tokyo 2020 than ever before, it is great to see public service media in Europe taking the opportunity to expand their coverage and deliver the Paralympic Games to the widest possible audience. The growing number of broadcasters and increasing levels of coverage are testament to the appeal of the Paralympic Games and the ever-improving performances of Para athletes.

“In the week that the IPC helped launch WeThe15, a global human rights movement for the 1.2 billion persons with disabilities, we are excited by the expansion of coverage from our broadcast partners in Europe. They will tell the stories of Paralympians to an even bigger audience than in Rio 2016, and more importantly they will empower people to embrace diversity and inclusion. You cannot put a value on that.”

In 2016, the International Paralympic Committee confirmed that the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games was covered by television, radio and online outlets in a record 154 countries. This compared with the London 2012 Paralympic Games where coverage was beamed to 115 countries, representing a 30% increase in territories showing the Paralympics.

A total of 22 sports will be included in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which run until 5 September, with Badminton and Taekwondo making their debuts.