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Online platform gets exclusive rights to Wimbledon in Russia

0 22 June 2014

If you want to watch Wimbledon in Russia, you’ll have to go online to do so, as Sports.ru has won exclusive rights to broadcast the two-week tennis tournament. 

The platform, which is one of Russia’s most popular online sports sites, will show matches on its website and via iOS and Android apps specially created for the event. 

While live tennis disappeared from Russian state TV channels years ago, this is the first time that a website has bought exclusive rights to one of the four Grand Slams. Last year Wimbledon was shown on NTV-Plus, but its director of marketing Alexey Zhuravlev explained that not getting the rights to the tournament wasn’t a great loss. In summer Russians tend to watch only football and basketball, so there is little sense spending serious money on securing the rights to broadcast other sporting events. 

That might explain why Sports.ru were able to secure the rights for a “very good price”, according to the company's general director Dmitry Navosha. He reckons that holding the exclusive rights will allow the site to attract a significant audience.

“We think that 200,000 to 400,000 viewers will tune in to each match. In comparison, around 1 million viewers watched football matches at the climax of the Russian football championship this spring.”

Dmitry Mednikov, deputy general director of state TV company VGTRK, believes that more ‘niche’ sports events will go online in the near future. 

“For a TV channel an audience of a few hundred thousand is hardly noticeable, but for a website it represents a good number for a single broadcast. More niche competitions will be broadcast online in the future, but internet-platforms won’t be able to compete with channels for mainstream sporting events.”

Source: Vedomosti

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