NHL Adds Russia to Pan-Europe Broadcast Network

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The North American pro hockey league inked a deal with VGTRK to telecast live games on its Rossiya 2 and Sport 1 channels.

WHISTLER, B.C. - The National Hockey League has added another broadcast territory in Europe: Russia, home of the Washington Capital’s Alex Ovechkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evegeni Malkin.

The All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK | has grabbed the rights to telecast live NHL games, splitting them between the free-to-air channel Rossiya 2, which reaches around 80 million viewers, and the sports channel Sport 1.

Adding VGTRK and RTR as broadcast partners follows the NHL ending a pan-European broadcast deal with ESPN America and dividing up the continent with individual distribution agreements.

Live NHL hockey is now available on TV sets and online in markets from Ireland and the UK to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Switzerland on the continent.

The North American hockey league also signed recent distribution deals for the Middle East and Africa.

Besides increasing its TV revenue, the NHL is moving beyond its North American base to exporting its product worldwide.