Russian Premier League to launch own channel

Russian football’s Premier League will launch a new domestic pay-television channel to show its matches from the 2012-13 season onwards. Pay-television broadcaster NTV Plus, the league’s current main domestic live rights-holder, will also show matches next season, under a new three-year deal, from 2012-13 to 2014-15, for non-exclusive rights.

The league’s new channel will show all matches, and will be available on cable and satellite television platforms and on mobile.

The league expects to earn $100 million (€79 million) per season during the period, from the rights fees paid by NTV Plus and carriage fees for the league-owned channel.

The league earned $60 million in 2011-12 in a one-off deal with NTV Plus. The deal was agreed because 2011-12 was a transition season for the league in which it moved from a spring-autumn to an autumn-spring calendar, to come into line with other major European leagues and Uefa club competitions.

The league has also agreed a deal for the new period with free-to-air channel NTV – both NTV and NTV-Plus are operated by state-controlled conglomerate Gazprom – for the rights for one match per round. The league said it was also interested in sublicensing one match per round to state-owned free-to-air broadcaster VGTRK’s Russia 2 channel.

The league turned down two offers earlier this year, one in February and one in April, from the Infront Sports & Media agency for its domestic and international rights over six years, from 2012-13 to 2017-18. Infront was bidding in partnership with VGTRK. The second offer was worth $70 million per year over the six years.