After pulling in a peak audience of 4.2 million during its coverage of the London Paralympic Games 2012, Channel 4 has been granted the UK television rights to the Rio 2016 Paralympics and Sochi Winter Paralympics 2014.
As part of the deal – the first two-Games TV deal agreed by the International Paralympic Committee – Channel 4 has committed to broadcasting more than 45 hours of coverage from the Sochi Games, and 500 hours from Rio.
The IPC president Sir Philip Craven commented on Channel 4’s airing of the Paralympics during the summer. He said: "With London 2012, Channel 4 created a blueprint for how a commercial broadcaster can raise the profile of Paralympic sport and its athletes to new levels.
“They reached record audiences, in particular of young people, identified and developed some fantastic new presenting talent, and played a significant role in delivering seismic shifts in attitudes and perceptions towards people with an impairment in the UK."
Channel 4 won praise for retaining a regular peak-time audience of more than two million during the London Paralympics, as well as commissioning popular shows such as The Last Leg featuring Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker.
In addition, Channel 4 will cover a number of major international para-sport events in the build-up to the Games, including the IPC world athletics championships in Lyon, and the IPC swimming world championships in Montreal.