Home Paralympics Paralympics Ranks as Third-largest Sporting Event in the World

Paralympics Ranks as Third-largest Sporting Event in the World

Paralympics Ranks as Third-largest Sporting Event in the World

The Paralympics now ranks as the third-largest sporting event in the world, trailing only the Olympic Games and the World Cup. The 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro attracted a record-breaking 4.1 billion television viewers, and the 2020 Paralympic Games are almost certain to draw an even larger audience. Broadcasters will carry live coverage of 19 Paralympic sports this year (up from 12 in 2016), and new partnerships with Twitter and other digital platforms will extend the Games’ reach to new audience segments.

So far, US fans haven’t quite caught on. Fewer than 5 million Americans tuned in to the 2016 Paralympics, a figure dwarfed by viewership in China (1 billion), Japan (770 million), Brazil (472 million), and most European countries. But US rights-holder NBCUniversal is betting on a bigger audience in 2020. Its coverage mushroomed from 77 hours in 2016 to more than 250 hours for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, and the network promises expanded coverage of the 2020 competition. Sponsorships are at record highs, too.

“Without a doubt, Tokyo 2020 will have the best, most complete, and in-depth TV coverage yet for a Paralympic Games,” says Alexis Schaefer, broadcasting director for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). “The Paralympics are a powerful communications platform, and we are confident that Tokyo will prove to be another success story.”

GLOBAL VIEWERS

2008 Beijing } 3.8 billion

2012 London } 3.8 billion

2016 Rio } 4.1 billion

COUNTRIES BROADCASTING

2008 Beijing } 80

2012 London } 115

2016 Rio } 154

TOTAL BROADCAST HOURS

2008 Beijing } 1,810

2012 London } 2,683

2016 Rio } 5,110

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