Viasat Broadcasting expands KHL rights in the Baltics

Modern Times Group’s (MTG) Viasat Broadcasting has prolonged the exclusive pay-TV broadcast rights and acquired online rights for Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Viasat has also acquired the exclusive free-TV rights for Latvia, from the start of the 2012-2013 season and until the end of 2014-2015 season. The rights have been acquired from KHL Marketing through its agency UFA Sports GmbH.

Viasat Broadcasting will broadcast more than 180 KHL games every season on its pay-TV sport channel Viasat Sport Baltic in the three countries. The coverage will include the KHL play-offs and finals (Gagarin Cup), and will be shown with local commentary, and the amount of games shown increases by more than 50% under the new agreement. Viasat has held the rights for KHL since 2009.

Viasat will broadcast all of the home games of Latvian KHL team Dinamo Riga live on its free-TV channel TV6 in Latvia. Dinamo Riga’s away games will be broadcast live on Viasat Sport Baltic or TV6. Dinamo Riga’s has been part of the KHL since the beginning in 2008 and have reached the playoffs every year.

The Kontinental Hockey League started in 2008 and is widely considered the strongest hockey league in Europe with teams not only from Russia, CIS, and Latvia, but also Czech Republic and Slovakia. The new season will start 4 September with last season’s Gagarin Cup winners Dynamo Moscow facing runner-up Avangard Omsk Region.

Kaspars Ozolins, CEO of MTG Baltics commented “It is another major step for Viasat in the Baltics to have prolonged and expanded the rights for this popular sports property as we always aim to provide our viewers with the best sports events available. Ice hockey is enormously popular in Latvia and KHL is the strongest hockey league in Europe. Latvia’s Dinamo Riga is the country’s most high profile sports team due to their consistent strong achievements in the KHL.”

Viasat has the best sports portfolio in the region with exclusive rights to IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, as well as first pick free-TV and exclusive pay-TV rights for Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Rio 2016 Summer Olympic. We also provide our viewers UEFA Champions League and English Premier League football, Formula 1 Championship, FIBA basketball events, Turkish Airlines Euroleague, ATP Tennis 500 & 1000 tournaments, and other major sports events.

“In our three-year cooperation, Viasat Broadcasting has proved to be a highly professional and reliable partner,” said Natalia Chaykovskaya, head of TV Projects Department, KHL-Marketing, LLC. “Both TV6 and Viasat Sport Baltic have the latest technological equipment and a clear vision of ‘what hockey should be’. They also boast a talented team of commentators so they exceed the demands and requirements of KHL in regards to the quality and content of transmissions. The new deal more than double the amount of KHL games broadcast in the Baltics. This should be a big driver for growth of popularisation of both KHL and the sport of ice hockey in the region. Apart from broadcast coverage our partner plans to exploit various promotion instruments to strengthen Dinamo Riga’s brand, the club’s games and KHL itself.”

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