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Match TV completes capture of VGTRK’s sports assets

Russian pay-television broadcaster NTV Plus has completed the acquisition of assets held by state-owned broadcaster VGTRK for sports media platform Match TV.

Russian news agency Interfax said NTV Plus has closed a deal to acquire online platform Sportbox.ru, which will now be incorporated into the Match TV portfolio.

NTV Plus general director Alexander Vronsky said: “The consolidation of assets is a key step in the creation of a new national sports media platform… as a whole. The internet is an important medium for sports content. Therefore, we will pay serious attention to the development of the portal Sportbox.ru.”

Match TV, which is backed by Russian media group Gazprom Media Holding, began broadcasting on a free-to-air basis on November 1, with sports content having been put together for its launch over recent months.

Match TV holds live rights for a number of leading sports events. It will broadcast Russian Premier League football and domestic basketball, along with Formula One motor racing, the NFL and leading boxing events.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, director general of Gazprom Media, has said Match TV will have a budget of R6.5bn (€93.6m/$103.4m) for sports rights acquisitions in 2016. Earlier this month, Match TV acquired rights to the Bundesliga, the top division of club football in Germany.

Match TV, along with NTV Plus, will offer coverage of the Bundesliga, the English Premier League, Spanish LaLiga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1.