Global TV deals for Paralympics

Great Britain's Charlotte Henshaw and team mates during a training session at the Aquatics Centre Charlotte Henshaw (left) is one of Great Britain's medal hopes in the swimming pool

The London 2012 Paralympic Games will be shown in more countries than any previous Paralympics after organisers agreed a series of TV deals.

More than 100 countries will now screen the Games, with deals covering Latin America, Pakistan, the USA and Iran.

Unlike Olympic rights, which are sold by the International Olympic Committee, the Paralympic rights are sold by London 2012 organisers Locog directly.

The success of the London Olympics has boosted interest in the Paralympics around the world, even in the United States, which for many years been accused of ignoring the games. While Channel 4 in the UK is broadcasting 150 hours of live coverage, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation 100 hours, NBC was planning just four 60-minute highlight programmes, and one 90-minute roundup after the Games were over, Associated Press reported.

Paralympic athletes, including military veterans, started online petitions urging US broadcasters to increase the coverage. Now London 2012 may signal a turning of the tide, reports the Guardian.

It says companies like Visa and General Electric in the US are running slick TV commercials, with disabled athletes endorsing a range of products. NBC has now announced it will run a daily highlights package via the US Paralympics YouTube channel. Even so, a prediction by the International Paralympic Committee that the Games would be watched by 4 billion people is way over the top. The Olympics itself hardly gets that many.

The Games, which start on Wednesday, will be aired by Channel 4 in the UK.

"It's fantastic to know that billions of people around the world will have the opportunity to watch," Locog chairman Lord Coe said.

"The deals we have signed are a testament to how great Paralympic sport is. People watching the action on TV will get to see some incredible sport by incredible athletes."

Locog said it expected to confirm further deals "in due course".

Meanwhile, Lord Coe revealed more details about Wednesday's opening ceremony.

Titled Enlightenment, he said it was "about human understanding, about limitations and the importance of knowledge".

"It focuses on that extraordinary period in European history and the great intellectual revolution that took place between 1550 and 1720," he added.

The ceremony will feature more than 3,000 volunteers including 50 disabled performers.

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