Paralympic Games added to 'crown jewels' TV list

25 Jan 2020

The Paralympic Games have been added to the "crown jewels" list of protected sports events by the government.

The move means both summer and winter Games will remain on free-to-air television in the future, reaching the widest possible UK audience and not going behind a pay-wall.

The Paralympics have become one of the biggest global sporting events, with 31.6 million people watching at least 15 consecutive minutes of coverage during the Rio 2016 Games, when Ellie Simmonds, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Mikey Jones were among the British gold medal winners in the pool. 

Channel 4 dedicated 500 broadcast hours across its platforms to coverage of London 2012, with that increasing to 700 hours four years later in Rio, and with a commitment to increase this further still for Tokyo 2020 in seven months' time.

On the news, Mike Sharrock, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said:

"The Paralympic Games is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, as the country comes together to support our world-class Paralympic athletes. So it is right that the event is available on free-to-air television for all to enjoy.

"Adding the Games to the crown jewels list of major sporting events guarantees it the platform is deserves every four years that will help inspire the sporting stars of the future.

"I am proud that the UK is the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, which has done so much in shifting attitudes and raising awareness on disability."

The revised list of free-to-air listed events is as follows:

Group A (full live coverage protected)

  • The Olympic Games
  • The Paralympic Games
  • The FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
  • The European Football Championship Finals Tournament
  • The FA Cup Final
  • The Scottish FA Cup Final (in Scotland)
  • The Grand National
  • The Wimbledon Tennis Finals
  • The Rugby World Cup Final
  • The Derby
  • The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final