​Match TV: three years on the air
01 November 2018

Match TV remains the flagship channel for sports broadcasting in Russia, bringing more and more new spectators into the world of sport. At the time of its third anniversary, the channel does not rest with what it has already accomplished, but is preparing new projects, from sports documentaries and entertainment programs to exclusive contracts for broadcasting key tournaments.

Key events and record figures

Since its launch, Match TV has shown steady growth among the target audience “men aged 14-59.” In 2018, an average 7.7 million men between the ages of 14 and 59 watch Match TV broadcasts on a daily basis. This means that sport is gaining popularity and becoming an integral part of life for more and more people.

The federal sports channel Match TV has been steadily increasing the volume of its sports broadcasts over three years. In 2018, the share of broadcasts dedicated to showing competitions in various sports went up to 61% of the total broadcasting time. Today the channel shows 68 sports. Match TV covers sports events that take place in Russia and abroad as broadly as possible, including the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, the ice hockey world championships, the World Cup and the world championships in rhythmic gymnastics, which wrapped up with an absolute triumph for Russia.

One of the most memorable events of 2018, without a doubt, was the home World Cup. The 2018 World Cup was shown with an average share of 9.4%, according to Mediascope. The viewership of live match broadcasts on Match TV was 22.3% among a male audience aged 14-59 years. The channel reached the maximum share of TV viewership during the 2018 World Cup on July 3 - 20.5%. On this day, the channel showed a live broadcast of the 1/8 final match between Colombia and England. The share of this broadcast was 40.9%.

Match TV built an ultramodern studio on Vorobyovy Gory especially for the World Cup, which provided live information and analytical support during the broadcasts of all matches. Famous Russian football players and coaches, including Alexander Kerzhakov, Denis Glushakov, Dmitri Cheryshev, Sergei Semak, Alexander Mostovoy and others, came to the studio as guests and experts.

The channel set a new record for TV viewership of sports broadcasts on the morning of October 7 during the UFC 229 tournament. Its share was 51.8%, while the main fight for the lightweight champion title between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor had a share of 60.4%. According to the day’s results, Match TV was in first place among Russian TV channels with a daily share of 8.8%.

Sport 360 and #янаматче

In addition to the federal channel Match TV, which is part of the Match! sub-holding, sports events are also covered through the sub-holding’s digital resources: the websites matchtv.ru and sportbox.ru, Match! Club mobile app and paid special-interest channels. The digital resources of the Match! sub-holding demonstrate the best overall rankings among all sports media. In 2018, matchtv.ru and sportbox.ru had 30.9 million unique visitors, while the sub-holding’s social networks had 58.6 million visitors. The views of 2018 World Cup video content on the digital resources matchtv.ru, sportbox.ru, the application Match! Club, as well as on social networks and YouTube reached a record number of 183.7 million. The increase in the number of subscribers to Match TV social networks from 2.2 million people in January to 3.6 million people in October shows a steady increase in the popularity of sports broadcasts among Internet users.

A premium television channel about Russian football, MATCH PREMIER, launched on July 27 on the frequency of the Match! Nash Football channel. A four-year contract with the Russian Premier League allows the channel to show all the matches of the 2018/19 season live. Channel viewers will also get access to premiere showings of all football programs produced by Match TV. In the first month of MATCH PREMIER broadcasts, the number of subscribers increased by 24% and reached 393,000 subscribers by August 31. As of the end of September, the premium football channel had 420,345 subscribers. MATCH PREMIER is also actively developing its off-air projects. As part of the joint project between Match TV and the Russian Premier League, spectators and football fans can choose the best player of the tour, the month and the whole season.

The TV channel is launching a large-scale flash mob with the hashtag #янаматче (I’m at the match) on November 1, the day of its third anniversary. Sports stars will address their subscribers in social networks and tell them what they especially liked on the TV channel in the past year. They will then pass the flashmob’s relay torch to their subscribers by finishing their video message with the question, “And what have you been doing on Match?”

Creation of own content and future plans

Match TV continues to acquaint its viewers with athlete stories, and the sports history of the country. Premiere episodes of new projects were aired on the channel this fall. Gen Pobedy (The Victory Gene) is a documentary cycle about Russia’s famous sports dynasties. The first episode focused on the legendary Shustikovs - football players of Moscow’s Torpedo. In the project FutBolno (Football Hurts), the channel talks about the problem of football injuries, with footballers Samuel Gigot and David Yurchenko already on board as two of the central subjects. The multi-part series S Chego Nachinaetsya Football (Akademii) (Where Does Football Begin, Academies) is dedicated to children's football. The program was filmed in the Russian and European football academies, with national team players and famous coaches sharing their views on the subject. In addition to “traditional" sports, Match TV is launching programming related to new sports, especially focusing on eSports.

Match TV is also the main television broadcaster of the Winter Universiade, which will take place from 2-12 March 2019 in Krasnoyarsk. The world-wide winter student-youth festival will be held in Russia for the first time. The channel is preparing live broadcasts of the competitions in nine sports from 11 venues, including the Sopka sports complex, halfpipe complex, ski slopes, ski stadium and freestyle tracks. Match TV plans to show more than 199 hours of live broadcasts from the Winter Universiade.