How many people will watch the Paralympic Winter Games?
With the Paralympic Winter Games just around the corner, excitement is starting to build towards what promises to be the most-viewed Paralympic Winter Games ever.
The PyeongChang Games were the most watched Paralympic Winter Games of all times with 2.02 billion viewers watching across 100 territories. There were an additional 251.5 million viewers reached through the IPC’s digital media channels.
TV audiences in China grew by 18 per cent compared to Sochi 2014 in anticipation of Beijing hosting the games in 2022 and it is anticipated this number will increase significantly as the host nation.
The increased TV viewership was also helped by the fact that the PyeongChang Games received a huge bump in the number of total hours broadcast, up 87.8 per cent on Sochi. Canada led the way, screening 288 hours of coverage, followed by hosts South Korea with 169 hours and Russia with 168 hours.
Norwegian broadcaster NRK and Great Britain’s Channel 4 screened the most live coverage, showing 63 hours each.
Which are the most watched sports at the Paralympic Winter Games?
At the PyeongChang Games, Para alpine skiing was the most viewed sport by TV audiences around the world, attracting 1.05 billion viewers worldwide across six days of competition. The Para cross country skiing was watched by 496.6 million people and the Para biathlon attracted a further 410.0 million bringing a combined audience of 1.96 billion viewers for the Para skiing events in PyeongChang.
In Beijing, Para alpine skiing will be the main focus for Kiwi viewers, with all three New Zealand Paralympians competing in the Para alpine skiing events including downhill, super-g, super combined, giant slalom, and slalom.
Para snowboarding was an extremely popular event with TV viewers in PyeongChang and it is expected to draw big crowds again. 313.0 million viewers tuned in to watch the Para snowboard events in PyeongChang including snowboard-cross and baked slalom.
Curling was a hugely popular event at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and it is anticipated that wheelchair curling will attract a similar audience for the Paralympic Winter Games. In 2018, 251.6 million people tuned in to watch wheelchair curling, however, we can expect much bigger numbers as host nation China are also the defending Paralympic champions, collecting their first ever gold medal in PyeongChang and hoping to retain their title at the Water Cube in 2022.
Para ice hockey was perhaps surprisingly the least watched event at PyeongChang, however, the matches were still watched by 230.3 million people as the USA claimed their third consecutive gold medal. Para ice hockey is a particular favourite of audiences in the USA, Canada, Norway, and Sweden.
Online, the Paralympics also proved a massive hit with coverage reaching more than 251.5 million people around the globe, almost four times the number reached during Sochi 2014, and close to three times the number reached by London 2012.
Watching the Paralympic Winter Games in New Zealand
Like the rest of the world, New Zealand audiences for the Paralympic Winter Games continue to grow. The Beijing 2022 Games will be the biggest broadcast to date here in New Zealand with every event broadcast on TVNZ’s DUKE channel.
DUKE’s coverage will follow our Kiwi Para athletes in their pursuit for medals in snowy Beijing, with a commitment to showcase every New Zealand performance. In between these endeavours, coverage will span the full spectrum of events on offer in Beijing 2022 – from Para alpine skiing to wheelchair curling.
Beijing sits just five hours behind New Zealand in terms of the time zone and this means that the Games are highly accessible for New Zealand audiences. Live and delayed coverage will begin at 10am each day and wrap up at around 2am. Additionally, New Zealand Paralympian performances will be recapped the morning after their competitions on Breakfast on TVNZ 1 at 6am, 7am and 8am.
Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) Chief Executive Fiona Allan says “TVNZ is putting on extensive coverage to meet the demand of New Zealanders for the upcoming Paralympic Winter Games. This will be the first time that New Zealanders can watch every Paralympic event and we hope that by seeing the incredible performances across the full range of Paralympic winter sports that this will inspire disabled people, and Kiwis in general, to get involved.”
Find out more about TVNZ’s coverage of the Paralympic Winter Games.
The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games are expected to be the most viewed Paralympic Winter Games to date, and we hope that all Kiwis will get behind our three Paralympians and tune in to watch all the live action. Increased viewing figures not only showcase public support for our amazing Para athletes, but also help to ensure the continued coverage of these major sporting events in New Zealand on free-to-air television raising the profile of Para sport and inspiring the next generation of Paralympians.
If you are interested in Para sport but you’re not sure how to get started, make sure you register your interest today and the team will be in touch with the next steps and opportunities best suited to you.