NTV-Plus secures football rights
By Chris Dziadul
Published: December 22, 2010 20.42 Europe/London

The Russian DTH platform NTV-Plus has secured the rights to the country’s football Premier League, though for a much higher fee that it has previously paid.

Quoting the league’s president Sergei Pryadkin, Kommersant says the amount is $60 million (€45.6 million) for one and a half years (2011/12 season), with the deal to be signed in January. This contrasts with the $92 million it paid for the previous four seasons, during which time the TV audience has fallen by about 15% to 12-12.5 million.

NTV-Plus will be able to sub-licence the rights to state-owned VGTRK (RTR) and for internet broadcasting.

Football rights have been a contentious issue in Russia, with Prime Minister (then President) Putin at one stage stepping in to ensure that a certain number of games were sub-licenced to RTR and then offered free of charge to viewers.

The football season is being shifted from spring-autumn to an autumn-spring format more familiar in the rest of Europe.

2011/12 is a transitional one, hence its exceptionally long running period of a year and a half.