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Russian Premier League agrees TV deal in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Lokomotiv Moscow's Solomon Kvirkvelia of Georgia (L) and FC Rostov's Khoren Bairamyan (Photo by Valery MatytsinTASS via Getty Images)

The Russian Premier League has announced a broadcast deal spanning 11 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The agreement with sports broadcaster Q Sport has been agreed ahead of the resumption of the league tonight following the shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Q Sport has acquired the rights in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

On plans for the coverage and the distribution of Q Sports, the league said: “Broadcasts will be available on cable operators’ networks and on mobile operators’ OTT platforms on the Q Sport TV channel. The broadcaster is negotiating to include the channel on TV networks and OTT platforms.”

Local-language commentary is to be provided by the channel.

Aidar Alimgazy, general producer of Q Sport, said: “RPL broadcasts in post-Soviet countries are a long-awaited return of the beloved football to TV screens, which has been eagerly awaited by many fans. We are glad that together with the RPL we have managed to organise such an opportunity for them.

“In addition to resuming the broadcasts themselves, we plan to start adapting the channel’s coverage for local audiences in the near future, which will attract not only the Russian-speaking population of these countries, but also a new generation of fans who prefer to watch sports in their native language.”

The league said that, starting from today, the Kazakh viewers would be able to watch the Russian Premier League matches via the Bee TV service.

Pavel Suvorov, commercial director of the RPL, remarked: “About 50-to-60 per cent of the RPL audience outside of Russia is made up of people living in post-Soviet countries. Therefore, it is strategically important for us to develop the RPL product in these regions, maintain a stable connection with our loyal audience, which is traditionally interested in Russian football, and involve the new, younger generation.

“We are very happy to find a reliable, interested and experienced partner who is well-versed in the sports broadcasting markets of all the named countries.”

It was announced last week that Russian sports broadcaster Match TV would make its coverage of the Russian Premier League free-to-air for the remainder of the season.