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IPC looks to gauge interest in European media rights with RFI

Logo presentation ceremony for Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics on October 21, 2019 (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The International Paralympic Committee has begun preparing the ground for its sale of broadcast rights in Europe to Paris’ 2024 Paralympics and Beijing’s 2022 winter Paralympics by starting a continent-wide request for information process.

The RFI issued today (Wednesday) invites interested broadcasters and rights agencies, who will be given specific guidelines related to bid submissions, to provide a scope of information to the IPC by October 30.

By issuing the RFI, the IPC is looking to analyse the level of interest and scope of information provided in different markets, before proceeding to a rights bidding process in selected (or all) markets.

All European markets are covered by the RFI, although only radio rights are available in the UK, where a Paris 2024 media-rights deal was recently agreed with free-to-air commercial broadcaster Channel 4. Only broadcast rights to the Beijing 2022 games are available in France.

Broadcast rights in Europe (excluding Russia and the UK) are currently held by the European Broadcasting Union consortium.

The IPC is exclusively selling international broadcast rights to Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024 on behalf of the two host cities.

The Bonn-based body has taken increased control of broadcast rights sales to the Paralympics in recent editions, beginning with the sale of rights to Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 on behalf of the respective organising committees. Before then, the rights were sold directly by the organising committees themselves (including the London 2012 organising committee’s deal with Channel 4).

A month-long clarification period will be held from September 17 to October 14 ahead of the RFI’s response deadline.

Referring to its UK broadcaster as an example to follow, the IPC said that it is “looking for partners like Channel 4 who can: promote and increase exposure for Para sport; create storytelling around the IPC’s passion for inclusion; raise the number of engaged audiences and Paralympic fans; grow and generate new revenue streams; innovate with the IPC’s commercial partners; leave a social legacy that includes developing on and off-air talent with a disability”.

A letter from IPC president Andrew Parsons leads off the RFI.

Parsons writes: “We want the Paralympic Games to have an even greater impact on society by placing disability at the heart of the diversity debate and by using Para sport as a vehicle to drive the human rights agenda. Through telling the compelling stories of Paralympians, we want to change global attitudes towards disability, create greater opportunities and ultimately transform the lives of the world’s one billion persons with disabilities.

“We are initiating a European Media Rights RFI to see which media rights-holders share our passion for changing the world through sport, share our desire to engage new European audiences and share our hunger to innovate and place persons with disabilities at the heart of TV productions both on and off-camera.”

Parties interested in receiving the RFI have been asked to email the IPC (RFI-Europe@paralympic.org).