Paralympics proved TV hit worldwide

News Shopper: The 2012 Paralympics were a big hit in the ratings The 2012 Paralympics were a big hit in the ratings

The London 2012 Paralympics were a global television ratings winner, figures show.

New International Paralympic Committee (IPC) data reveals that viewers based outside the UK who tuned in to watch the Games totalled 3.4 billion.

This was a 37% increase from the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, when a 2.48 billion-strong audience outside China tuned in. That represents a cumulated growth of almost one billion.

IPC commercial and marketing director Alexis Schaefer noted: "To grow the international audience outside of the host market by nearly one billion in four years is a significant achievement and shows the growing global appeal of Paralympic sport and the Paralympic Games."

The figures, produced by IFM Sports for the IPC, suggest the high level of international interest in the Paralympics as they do not include viewers from the host nation, where there is always a large audience.

In total, the London 2012 Paralympics were watched by an audience of 3.8 billion, both in Britain and abroad. This is the same total figure from the Beijing Games, the IPC said. The Games were broadcast in more than 115 countries and territories, and overseas audiences got the chance to see over 2,500 hours of content.

This was an 82% increase from the Beijing Paralympics. China, Japan, Germany, Great Britain and France were the top nations of viewers who watched London 2012. Athletics and swimming were the most popular sports screened during the Games.

Mr Schaefer said: "To reach a cumulated TV audience of 3.8 billion for the Games is impressive, but even more impressive when you consider the limited airtime the Games received in some countries, especially in North America.

"With the Games taking place in South America for the first time in 2016 we potentially will see more broadcasters in the Americas either showing the Games live or delayed. If some of the biggest countries come on board then I am confident that we will break the 4 billion cumulated audience figure for the first time."

During London 2012, IPC president Sir Philip Craven noted that US TV channel NBC did not show any live action. It screened four highlights programmes and did not show the opening ceremony. A 90-minute wrap-up programme was scheduled for September 16, a week after the Games ended. Channel 4, the British rights holder, broadcast around 500 hours of coverage and a peak audience of 11.2 million people watched the opening ceremony.

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