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Beltelecom retains Belarusian ice hockey broadcast rights

Belarusian telecoms operator Beltelecom has retained broadcast rights to the country’s top-tier ice hockey league in a new agreement with the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association (BIHA).

The new contract allows Beltelecom’s Yasnae TV channel, which launched in September 2019, to broadcast 200 matches during the 2020-21 season, an uplift on the output of around 150 matches shown in in 2019-20.

In addition to matches from the top-tier Parimatch Extraliga, the agreement also includes rights to Belarus’ Ruslan Salei Cup and selected international matches of the Belarus national team.

Gennady Savilov, the BIHA president, said: “We are glad that, having taken the first step towards increasing the attractiveness of the national championship last year, today we can continue this path with such a partner as Beltelecom.”

Savilov underlined that the Beltelecom output is “in no way competitive to” that on Belarus 5, the free-to-air sports channel of Belarusian state broadcaster BTRC.

He said: “Moreover, as last season, a significant part of the broadcasts for Yasnae TV will be provided by the specialists of Belarus 5.”

Savilov added: “The fact that we are moving in the right direction is evidenced by the figures: the increase in attendance at Parimatch-Extraliga matches last season compared to the 2018-19 season was 25 per cent. And this, I am sure, is an important merit of the broadcasts – people see an interesting show and want to become a part of it.”

Yuri Petruchenya, Beltelecom’s chief executive, said that the company is “determined to significantly raise the creative and technical component of the broadcasts”.

Earlier this year, Beltelecom acquired exclusive rights to Belarusian football’s domestic Premier League. The contract granted Beltelecom exclusive rights to all 201 matches from the 2020 season, along with the Super Cup game.