Tokyo Paralympics to be aired in prime time for 1st time by CBC, NBC

The Tokyo Paralympics will get primetime coverage in North America this summer.

CBC coverage begins Aug. 24 with opening ceremony

A government official carries a bag with the logo of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. For the first time, NBC will air coverage of the Games in prime time this summer. (Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images)

The Tokyo Paralympics will get primetime coverage in North America this summer, marking the first time both CBC in Canada and an American network in the U.S. will air the event in the evenings.

CBC's coverage begins Aug. 24 when hosts Scott Russell and Senator Chantal Petitclerc, winner of 16 Paralympic gold medals, present the Games' opening ceremony from 6-10 a.m. local time across Canada. The ceremony will be presented in a fully accessible manner with close captioning, described video and ASL integrations for those who need.

Once competition begins, CBC will present a one-hour show from 7-8 p.m. local time, part of five hours of daily coverage on the network. In addition, as many as 12 events will be live streaming at and CBC GEM each day.

The broadcasts will also include a live two-hour show from 3-5 p.m. and an overnight show from midnight to 2 a.m. Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time. 

The CBC is part of the Canadian Paralympic Committee's media consortium along with AMItv, Rogers Sportsnet, Facebook and Twitter as well as the CPC digital platform.

NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said he expects NBC's prime time coverage from the Paralympics to total four hours over multiple nights. NBCSN will air 12 hours daily.

"It's unreal and incredible. I'm so ecstatic," said 13-time Paralympic gold medallist Jessica Long, who is looking to compete in her fifth Games in swimming. "It's time to show the world the diversity in disability and challenges we face, but also how incredible we are. It is nice being showcased for our work and elite-ness."

The Games are scheduled to begin in six months after being postponed last year because of the pandemic.

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Zenkel said the core planning and hours were decided before the postponement but the extra time has allowed the network to find opportunities to expand coverage.

"We will be able to bring NBC's athlete profiles and stories to prime time. Certainly competition will be the foundation but the stories are compelling and form the fabric of coverage," Zenkel said.

NBCSN will air 12 hours daily, including live coverage of the Aug. 24 Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony on Sept. 5. During the Rio Games in 2016, NBCSN aired nine hours most days and had more than 70 hours of total coverage.

with files from Associated Press

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