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New free-to-air sports channel to launch in Russia

Match TV RussiaMatch TV, a new free-to-air Russian sports channel from NTV-owner Gazprom, is due to go live at the weekend, following a launch event yesterday in Moscow.

The 24-hour network is designed to “bring sports closer to the general public, broaden the audiences’ understanding of sports as a core feature of human life, help them understand sports personalities… and use these examples for promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.”

At the channel launch, Dmitry Chernyshenko, director general of Gazprom Media Holding, said Match TV will aim to give a “new perspective on sport” and show the strength, determination and energy of athletes.”

Match TV will have live TV broadcast rights for events and matches including Russian soccer and basketball, Formula One racing, American football, rugby.

It will also air news, documentaries talk-shows and reality shows, including series about sports and the lives of athletes. There will also be TV shows on general health, wellness and healthy eating.

“We aim at bringing on air the very spirit of sport, something that captivates spectators at real-life games, to find the right tone of voice,” said Tina Kandelaki, general producer of Match TV.

Gazprom owns national broadcaster NTV and pay TV platform NTV+. In recent months, the latter has been buying up Russian sports rights for events including French Ligue 1 football, Italian Serie A football, NFL American football, Russia’s Rosgosstrakh football championship and the Euroleague basketball tournament.