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Match TV and Okko to broadcast Euro 2024 in Russia

Published: Updated: 15:49, 30 May 2024
Match TV hold rights for the Euro 2024 final and one semi-final

The upcoming UEFA European Championship men's national teams soccer tournament, Euro 2024, is set to receive extensive coverage in Russia. This comes after agreements were reached with Gazprom Media-owned sports broadcaster Match TV and subscription streaming service Okko Sport.

For the first time ever, the 24-team tournament will be aired on both linear TV and a streaming platform in Russia. This development marks the beginning of cooperation between Okko and Match TV. The championship will take place from June 14 to July 14, 2024, in Germany.

Despite Russia being banned from qualifying for the tournament due to its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Match TV and Okko have secured broadcasting rights.

Coverage split between platforms

The broadcasting deal stipulates that out of the total of 51 Euro 2024 matches:

Match TV will broadcast twenty-two group stage matches, eight round-of-16 games, two quarter-finals, one semi-final, and the final. Okko Sport will broadcast fourteen group matches, two quarter-finals, and one semi-final.

All three group-stage matches involving Ukraine will be streamed on Okko. However, if Ukraine advances to knockout stages, its last-16 fixture will be shown on Match TV.

Tina Kandelaki, deputy general director of Gazprom Media, said:

“The entire market was watching the development of the situation regarding the screening of the European Championship. I am very grateful to my colleagues that despite the complexity of the negotiations, thanks to the constructive position of all participants in the transaction, we managed to reach the finish line. I am sure that such a large and complex case will be the beginning of large-scale projects that we plan to launch in the future together with Okko.”

Sergey Shishkin, chief executive of Okko, said:

“The unprecedented partnership between Okko and Match TV is a landmark moment in the history of sports broadcasting. There are currently a number of restrictions on the media rights market from foreign rights holders, but this year Russian viewers will be able to watch the European Football Championship.”

Controversy over broadcasting rights

UEFA had initially agreed upon a deal with Telesport agency for selling media rights in Russia. In an unexpected turn of events during this process, Telesport sold these rights to Match TV which led to a dispute with Okko who claimed they had purchased all UEFA European national team matches until 2028.

After sharing contract details with Gazprom Media about this controversial situation it was determined that indeed Okko held rights for broadcasting qualifying matches for the 2024 and 2028 European Championships, as well as the 2026 World Cup matches. Despite this confusion, Gazprom Media and Rambler&Co (Okko's parent company) reached an amicable resolution. They agreed to collaborate for the first time to broadcast the forthcoming Euros.

The delayed Euro 2020 was also aired in Russia with coverage shared by Match TV along with state-controlled free-to-air channels Channel One and Russia One. These deals were secured through Telesport as well.

UEFA’s media rights unaffected despite war on Ukraine

While several major European soccer leagues like English Premier League and France's Ligue 1 have suspended their broadcast deals in Russia following its war on Ukraine, UEFA’s media rights agreements in the country remain unaffected.

Match TV continues to show UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League matches under a three-year contract from 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle. However, due to political tensions, UEFA had terminated its sponsorship deal with Russian oil giant Gazprom and moved the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg in 2022.

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