After long negotiations, the Russian National Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) has secured the rights to broadcast the NHL on their sports channels (free SD Russia 2 and cable HD Sport 1).
Back when RMNB was in its infancy, I described what it was like to be a fan of the Washington Capitals in Moscow. Staying up until 6am and searching the internet for feeds of Caps games (where there’s no guarantee I will hear Joe B. and Locker), is neither convenient or healthy.
Understanding this shortfall, the NHL started offering a Russian version of their website this season, and they allowed Europeans to watch games on NHL GameCenter Live. The VGTRK deal — which was completed in November — is another step towards globalizing the NHL.
HD Sport 1’s first game was the Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins on November 25. The free SD Russia 2 broadcasted the New York Rangers at Washington Capitals game that very same day.
For the first time in 15 years, the NHL is widely available on Russian TV.
VGTRK aired a commercial promoting their new relationship with the NHL. It features the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, and Dmitry Orlov as well as other big-name players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and renaissance man Ilya Bryzgalov. Below, you can check it out for yourself.
At the end of the commercial, there’s some Russian spoken. The narrator says “The NHL on Russia 2. Nothing cooler than that.” He’s right. Now maybe I can finally get some sleep!