Channel 4 has awarded the contract to produce its live coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games to leading sports production company Sunset+Vine.
The award-winning firm, part of the Tinopolis Group, will be solely responsible for producing over 200 hours of live coverage and highlights programming across the Rio Paralympics, which take place in September 2016, for the free-to-air broadcaster.
Sunset+Vine co-produced Channel 4’s BAFTA winning coverage of the 2012 Paralympics alongside IMG Sports Media, which reached record audiences and had significant impact on changing viewers’ attitudes and perceptions towards disability.
Earlier this year, Sunset+Vine produced the broadcaster’s exclusive coverage of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics, which included daily live coverage and highlights programmes of the event for the first time on UK television.
The company has also been responsible for Channel 4’s other para-sport coverage during the summer months, including IPC World and European Championships in both athletics and swimming.
The announcement concludes an extensive tender process for the Paralympics production contract, which started in December 2013.
Channel 4 was awarded the rights to broadcast the Rio 2016 Paralympics by the International Paralympic Committee back in February 2013, following the success of its critically acclaimed coverage of London 2012.
The broadcaster is once again planning extensive round-the-clock coverage of the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, including live coverage and highlights programmes.
As part of the requirements for the contract, Sunset+Vine will be expected to build on the on-air initiatives launched for London 2012, included its innovative graphics system Lexi Decoder and its work with disabled talent.
In 2012, Channel 4 launched the careers of 10 new disabled presenters and reporters following a ground-breaking nationwide search for on-screen talent.
The new partnership with Sunset+Vine will extend the investment in disabled talent, with further details set to be announced in January 2015.
Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympic Games drew record-breaking viewing figures and is credited with contributing to a sea-change in attitudes towards disability and disabled sport in the UK, which it hopes will continue for Rio 2016.
“The Rio Paralympics will be one of the defining events of 2016,” said Channel 4’s head of live events Ed Havard.
“We’re delighted to be working with Sunset+Vine to showcase the Games for our audiences and to build on the extraordinary success of the 2012 coverage.”
Jeff Foulser, chairman of Sunset+Vine, added: “We’re delighted to be teaming up once again with Channel 4 to bring the 2016 Paralympic Games to the UK audience.
“Our award-winning experience from London 2012 and the expertise we have developed from subsequent events has enabled us to demystify para-sport and present it in an exhilarating and entertaining way.
“Thanks to Channel 4’s ongoing commitment to para-sport, there is now a genuine appetite to follow the GB team at the Rio Paralympics 2016 – and the exciting performances and inspirational stories behind their achievements.
“We look forward to playing our part in making Rio an even greater success.”
Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage will be led by a new head of sport in 2016 following the announcement that its current controller Jamie Aitchison, who led the broadcaster’s London 2012 coverage, is to step down from his role at the end of the year to join Aurora Media.
Sunset+Vine is one of the UK’s leading independent sports production firms, having won over 35 broadcast awards, including nine Royal Television Society awards and six BAFTA awards.
The most recent of those was for ‘Best Sport and Live Event’ in 2013 as part of its work on Channel 4’s ground-breaking coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The company is also the primary production partner for BT Sport and produces the pay-TV channel’s live Premier League football and Aviva Premiership Rugby matches.
Sunset+Vine was also the host broadcaster of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and previously produced Channel 4’s award-winning cricket coverage between 1999 and 2005.