By Steven Downes and Duncan Mackay

December 29 - Michael Payne, the former marketing chief for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), claimed he is very sceptical of recent reports that Paralympic sports chiefs are considering selling the rights to the 2012 London Paralympic Games to anyone other than the BBC.

The Paralympics, unlike the Olympics, do not fall under the British Government's nine 'listed' sports events - the  "Crown Jewels" - which are protected and must be broadcast on terrestrial television.

The broadcast rights were freed to London 2012 by the IOC, through an agreement between the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and they are the first organising committee allowed to negotiate their own television deal.

That means London 2012 officials could sell them to a satellite channel and BSkyB are among the broadcasters to have declared in interest in showing them.

The first round of tendering process closed on November 27 with BSkyB and the BBC emerging as the favourites.

But Payne, widely acknowledged as one of the successful and innovative marketeers in sports history, said he would be "amazed" if the Games went to another broadcaster other than the BBC, who have shown every Paralympics in some form since Arnheim in 1980 and have shown a strong commitment to Parasport by broadcasting a series of events, including the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester and the IPC European Swimming Championships.

Their coverage has helped create stars out of Paralympians like Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and, more recently, Ellie Simmonds.

Payne told insideworldparasport: "It is a very high risk strategy to switch sports broadcaster from the people who, patiently over many years and with quite some investment, have helped to build up the coverage of your event."

Reports that BSkyB had opened talks about possibly showing more of the 2012 Paralympics on one of their dedicated sports channels, something Payne sees as a ruse for the Rupert Murdoch-owned satellite broadcaster to get a greater involvement with the Olympics.
“Will Sky be bidding for the Rio Paralympics, too?” Payne asked.