The Paralympic Games will remain on free-to-air television after the government added it to the ‘crown jewels’ list of protected events.
Both the summer and winter Games will be added in the first change to the list – which includes the Olympics and football World Cup – in 20 years.
In 2016, 31.6 million watched at least 15 consecutive minutes of Rio coverage.
“I am delighted the Paralympic Games has been added,” said Paralympic champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
“When you look at the other events it will now sit alongside, it means so much to athletes, current and retired, to know the level that the Paralympic Games has reached in the public consciousness and how much it means to everyone.”
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is also expected to announce a decision on whether the women’s equivalents of men’s events already on the list will be added.
“The Paralympic Games is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, as the country comes together to support our world-class Paralympic athletes,” added sports minister Nigel Adams.
“So it is only right the event is available on free-to-air television for all to enjoy. Adding the Games to the crown jewels list of major sporting events guarantees it the platform it deserves every four years that will help inspire the sporting stars of the future.”
Officially known as the Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events, the so-called ‘crown jewels’ list was first created in 1991.
It was then revised in 1999 and split into two categories, A and B, with events on the A list being those which must offer live rights to free-to-air broadcasters at a “fair and reasonable” cost. Events on the B list must offer highlights packages.
The revised list of free-to-air listed events is as follows:
Group A (full live coverage protected)
- The Olympic Games
- The Paralympic Games
- The Fifa World Cup finals
- The European Football Championship finals
- The FA Cup final
- The Scottish FA Cup final (in Scotland)
- The Grand National
- The Wimbledon Tennis finals
- The Rugby World Cup final
- The Derby
- The Rugby League Challenge Cup final
Group B (secondary coverage protected)
- Cricket Test matches played in England
- Non-finals play at Wimbledon
- All other matches at the Rugby World Cup
- Six Nations Rugby matches involving England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
- The Commonwealth Games
- The World Athletics Championship
- The Cricket World Cup – the final, semi-finals and matches involving England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- The Ryder Cup
- The Open Golf Championship