The 2014 Winter Paralympics begin next Friday, March 7 in Sochi, Russia. What is significant about these games is that it will, for the first time, receive more extensive coverage, including live TV broadcasts!
The CBC and Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) are providing most of the Canadian coverage between March 7 and 16. Yahoo Canada Sports and Sendtosports will handle live Internet streaming of the games. There is also an unconfirmed report that Sportsnet may also provide some coverage.
A broadcast deal was recently struck with the Canadian Paralympic Committee in response to viewer dissatisfaction over the extremely limited attention given to the Paralympics in past years. This deal means that more than 65 hours of television broadcast and up to 350 hours of digital streaming.
The official Paralympics website offers live streaming at http://www.paralympic.org/news/watch-sochi-2014-paralympics-livestream-trailer. Alternatively, you can also watch them live on its YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/ParalympicSportTV. It presently has 23,811 subscribers (as of March 2).
NBC is providing coverage of the games for the first time ever in the US. A huge outcry occurred in the disability community when it ignored the 2012 London games two summers ago. Network executives at the time wrote a message with a dismissive tone suggesting that there was little or no viewer interest in the Paralympics. Channel 4 in the UK, however, provided acclaimed, though mostly pre-recorded, coverage that was syndicated internationally.
We will be blogging more about the 2014 Paralympics, including a TV guide-style listing.
A final TV schedule has not officially been released yet. We can tell you that CBC will show the Opening Ceremonies live on March 7, from 2-5pm ET.