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Channel 4 eyes bid for Rio 2016 Paralympic TV rights

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Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham is reportedly readying a bid for the television rights to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games, following the broadcaster's successful coverage of London 2012.

Channel 4's coverage of the London Paralympics attracted record viewing figures and was praised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as going beyond its "wildest dreams".

Channel 4 Paralympic Presenters: Clare Balding and Ade Adepitan

© Channel 4

Channel 4's Chief Executive David Abraham today unveiled the latest installation on the 'Big 4' outside the corporation's Horseferry Road headquarters

© Channel 4



The broadcaster hopes to build on this in Rio in four years time by snapping up UK broadcast rights to the Paralympic Games, The Guardian reports. However, it could face a rival bid from the BBC, which lost out on the London 2012 rights.

"International TV rights are managed by the IPC and we obviously have a very good relationship with them," Abraham said. "We are talking to them about how we plan Rio, and how we go about doing that."

Discussing the potential for a BBC bid, Abraham added: "We are not getting distracted by that. We are very confident we have great ideas and a great relationship [with the IPC]. We have great presenters, everything is in place."

Abraham hopes to retain Clare Balding should Channel 4 get the Rio deal. She was praised for her presenting during both the London Olympics coverage on the BBC and Paralympic Games on Channel 4. She has also signed up to become the face of Channel 4's enlarged racing coverage.

"Clare is the face of our racing, so you know she is going to be working for us [in 2016]," he said.

"Everything is in place but we are four years out, no one gets a contract for that long. I am very positive about re-assembling the team, there was a lot of good chemistry."

Rio is not expected to generate the same sort of interest from British audiences as the London Games, but it will feature many now-household-name Team GB athletes, such as sprinter Jonnie Peacock and swimmer Ellie Simmonds.

Abraham noted that the Rio Games will be an "amazing brand" and the time difference will be less challenging for broadcasters than in the case of Beijing in 2008.

He feels that London 2012 showed how two separate broadcasters - the BBC and Channel 4 - can "focus resources to deliver two great events".

Channel 4 will also hope to woo the Rio Olympic organising committee via its commitment to invest £250,000 in the search for more disabled talent to present programmes on sport, disability and beyond.

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