Match TV finalises Uefa club rights retention in Russia

Gazprom Media-owned Match TV has announced its acquisition of broadcast rights to the Uefa Champions League, Europa League and new third-tier Europa Conference League from 2021-22 to 2023-24.

The broadcaster retained rights to the Uefa club competitions after overcoming interest from leading Russian internet platforms.

Match TV’s new rights agreement was first reported by SportBusiness Media last week, including an analysis of the deal value and bidding process.

Aleksandr Zharov, Gazprom Media Holding’s chief executive, said today (Tuesday) that Match TV would “continue to show the European competitions to the widest possible audience in Russia” and would “use all our resources to do this”.

The Team Marketing agency launched the sales process in Russia on October 28, setting a first-round bid deadline of November 25.

In selling the rights for the three-season cycle, Team packaged the Europa League together with the new Europa Conference League. Rights to the top-tier Champions League were sold separately, but simultaneously, along with the Uefa Super Cup (in 2021, 2022 and 2023) and Uefa Youth League.

Team went to market on the back of an intensification of competition for sports rights in Russia. Internet company Rambler acquired English Premier League rights at the start of 2019 and rival Yandex picked up National Hockey League rights in September.

Russian OTT streaming service ivi has this season sublicensed digital Uefa club competition rights from Match TV to exploit on pay-per-view basis. Match TV has continued to showcase all rights on its platforms with ivi exploiting the rights on its general subscription service charging users on a pay-per-view basis.