ZURICH – The IIHF and Ovation Sports are pleased to announce the expansion of the Champions Hockey League broadcast family with the signing of a number of new significant broadcasters on two continents. These networks were on board as of the league’s launch on October 8th and have expanded its broadcast reach to more than 70 territories throughout Europe, North America and Africa.
Russia’s Sport TV, Scandinavia’s and the Baltic’s VIASAT, Germany’s Eurosport, America’s Universal Sports, Slovakia’s STV, Poland’s TVP, Romania’s BOOM TV, the Czech Republic’s 4NET are the latest broadcasters to sign on to carry the league.
“The Champions Hockey League will with the new acquisitions have a substantial coverage in Europe, which is essential for this league to make an immediate impact in the sports landscape on the continent,” said René Fasel, President of the IIHF. “But primarily, we want to expose this league to fans.”
VIASAT, the broadcast network, owned by the Modern Times Group, the largest free-TV and pay-TV operator in Scandinavia and the Baltics, will broadcast the Champions Hockey League for three seasons and the Victoria Cup for two.
Craig Thompson, CEO of Ovation Sports, the IIHF-appointed agency managing the new league, underlines the importance of signing Viasat as a CHL broadcast partner. “Viasat will bring the Champions Hockey League to thousands of more fans in crucial hockey regions.”
The league will now be broadcast in Sweden (Viasat Sport), Bulgaria (Diema+), Slovenia (TV3), Hungary (TV6), in Norway and Denmark (TV 2 Sport / Viasat Sport 2 or 3 / Sport) and in Latvia, Lithuania & Estonia on TV6.
Across the Atlantic in North America, Universal Sports, the pre-eminent multiplatform destination for Olympic-related sports programming, will bring the top European hockey teams to U.S. fans for the first time as the exclusive home of the 2008-09 Champions Hockey League (CHL).
"It is of great importance that the Champions Hockey League get a foothold on the North American market, as we know that many Americans are interested in international hockey and that they would like to follow Europe's prime club hockey competition, says René Fasel, President of the IIHF. “The co-operation with Universal Sports is a great first step in this direction."
“We are thrilled that Universal Sports will be broadcasting the Champions Hockey League both on TV and online, allowing the North American public to regularly see the best of the best of European hockey,” says Thompson. “We are equally pleased that in Russia, the other great hockey powerhouse, the Champions Hockey League will now be broadcast by Russia’s public broadcaster.”
Sport TV, part of the All Russia State Television and Radio Company, or VGTRK, will broadcast the Champions Hockey League throughout the country.
The CHL is now very well covered in Eastern Europe with the addition of the three new broadcasters there.
“Eastern Europe is key to the development and expansion of ice hockey,” added Thompson. “With Slovan Bratislava, one of the oldest and most esteemed clubs in hockey history, playing in the league this season, we are so pleased that STV, the public broadcaster, will allow fans throughout Slovakia to see them play. In addition while their nation’s clubs gear up for the 2009/2010 CHL season, Polish and Romanian fans will be able to keep up with the league as well, publicizing the new brand and expanding the fan base.”
In Slovakia, STV, the nation’s free-to-air broadcaster, will serve as the league’s host broadcaster as well as broadcasting all HC Slovan games live throughout the season as well as the Semi-finals and Finals.
In Poland, TVP, the nation’s public service broadcaster has signed on to carry three seasons of the Champions Hockey League as well as two consecutive Victoria Cups.
Romanian viewers will see the Champions Hockey League thanks to the broadcaster, BOOM TV. The broadcaster, part of the private DTH Television group, has two dedicated sports satellite channels which broadcast throughout the nation.
And in the Czech Republic, the video portal owned by 4Net (www.sportstream.cz) will bring exclusive live coverage of the Champions Hockey League free to online viewers within the country. “The online component is so important to us and now CHL will be another prestigious sports property available through this important net broadcaster.”
All networks above will broadcast the Champions Hockey League and Victoria Cup across all of their respective media platforms. In addition to coverage of the full CHL season and the Victoria Cup, they will also show weekly highlights and a monthly magazine programme.
In addition to broadcast networks, Sports News Television (SNTV), the world’s leading sports news video agency, has also signed on to feed Champions Hockey League highlights packages through its wide distribution network. The agency is a partnership between the Associate Press and IMG Media.
For the games and seasons to come, fans back home will continue to receive the Champions Hockey League experience so many have begun to witness first-hand.