UPDATE: Hey, NBC found a whole 90 minutes for the Paralympics! In the middle of the afternoon! A week after it's over! Woo hoo!
I've been researching a lot about the 2012 Summer Paralympics lately, and though I've been able to put together a gallery of the sports and a fun list of ways to support the U.S. Paralympics team, I've had a hard time finding out exactly where fans in the U.S. could watch this thing on TV. Will NBC be leaving some of the infrastructure from its 5,535 hours of broadcast, cable, and online Olympic coverage to capture the competition, drama, and inspiration of the 2012 London Paralympics as well?
According to a Denver Post blog post I saw today ... no. Nope. Nothin'. NBC has no contract with the Paralympics, so don't expect to see Bob Costas interviewing competitors in Goalball or Wheelchair Basketball or Sitting Volleyball. These sports look so intriguing to me, and the athletes' stories seem so highly of human interest, that it's hard to believe no broadcaster wants a piece of this. But it appears that U.S. viewers flipping through channels looking for Paralympic action will flip in vain.
Fortunately, though, we live in a time where TV is no longer the only way to watch, and the International Paralympic Committee will be leaping to our aid with online offerings that include, according to a news item on its site, "Live coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, 48 hours of live sport each day available via four channels with English commentary ... [and] over 1,000 hours of video on demand uploaded 24 hours a day from 30 August to 9 September." Which means that anybody who really wants to watch the Paralympics can do so -- but that people who might discover it through TV commercials and channel surfing will likely remain unaware these games ever happened.
You can help spread the word by following the IPC's Facebook page and Twitter feed and sharing with friends. There are also videos to start watching right now on the ParalympicsSportTV YouTube page to get everyone in the mood. And if you want to let NBC know how much it stinks that they're leaving town without giving Paralympics athletes their due? There's a petition for that.
Photo by Terri Mauro