Gazprom-Media, the leading diversified media holding in Russia and Eastern Europe, has announced the launch of a new federal public television channel MATCH! STRANA. The channel will kick off its broadcast on March 2, 2019 at 10:00, Moscow time, with the coverage of the XXIX Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk.
The channel will be present in all Russian regions in SD and HD format, and will reach more than 80 million people. MATCH! STRANA is targeted at a wide audience aged 6 to 70 years. The channel will be on-air in major cities, and also available through satellite and cable operators across all of Russia. The online stream of the channel will be available on matchtv.ru and sportbox.ru websites, as well as through the mobile app Match! Club.
"MATCH! STRANA is a TV channel we’ve been waiting for," said Pavel Kolobkov, Russia’s Minister of Sport. “Its viewers will have the opportunity to see the level of physical education and sport on the entire territory of our country. Aside from this, they will see numerous competitions, success stories featuring our biggest athletes, and the most interesting sports events in the Russian regions. This is a completely new format of sports television, which is targeted at all age groups. It will help both children and adults choose a sport they would be interested in doing, and will motivate them to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
“Russian sport is the history, the present and the future of our big country. Thus, MATCH! STRANA is not just a TV channel about sports. This is a TV channel about people, our compatriots, their successes, will power, their drive to win and, of course, the lives, which they devoted to sport. Our goal is to make the new channel useful and informative for the broadest audience possible in order to keep people interested in sport not just as a profession or hobby, but on the level of a national idea,” said Dmitry Chernyshenko, CEO of Gazprom-Media Holding.
MATCH! STRANA will be fully focused on the country's sporting life and the development of Russian sport. In one year the channel will show about 3,000 hours worth of live broadcasts, 4,400 hours of special reviews, news digests and pre-recorded broadcasts. Most of the channel’s broadcasts will be taken up by club competitions, featuring such prominent teams as CSKA basketball, Zenit volleyball and Rostov-Don handball.
The channel will have an important social function with special attention given to the development of children's sports. There will also be a lot of attention given to adaptive sports. The channel aims to change popular attitudes to sport and athletes through the closest possible cooperation with regions and sports organizations.
The channel’s broadcast programme will necessarily include national championships in all Olympic sports, including synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics, shooting and weightlifting, beach volleyball and wrestling, fencing and swimming, biathlon and cross-country skiing, alpine skiing and speed skating, bobsleigh and short track.
There are also plans to cover Russian championships during which athletes are selected for the country’s Olympic teams. This is especially relevant in the lead up to the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
In addition to these broadcasts, the channel will follow the preparations for the largest international sporting events to be held in Russia: World Boxing Championship in 2019, European Football Championship in 2020, and the World Volleyball Championship in 2022.
The news releases on MATCH! STRANA will be dedicated to Russian sport with special attention given to reports from the regions. Each week, the channel will tell its viewers about upcoming sports broadcasts in the program Strana Smotrit Sport (The Country is Watching Sport). The channel will also cover the happenings in the Continental Hockey League, VTB United League, and the Russian Volleyball Super League.
The channel’s team is already working on the production of documentary cycles about Russian athletes with international fame, sports schools and coaches who raised champions. The documentary cycle will launch with a show dedicated to the famous Russian figure skaters Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Maxim Kovtun. There will also be programs about the great Soviet champions - Lidiya Skoblikova, Boris Mikhailov, and Alexander Maltsev.
Another of the channel’s key projects, the documentary cycle Gen Pobedy (The Victory Gene), will look into sport dynasties that brought glory to Soviet and Russian sport over multiple decades.
Among other premieres planned on the TV channel there is a series of documentaries Gde Rozhdautsya Chempiony (Where Champions are Born), Mesto Sily (Place of Power) and Tochka na Karte (Point on the Map), which represent the country’s sports geography, as well as the documentary cycles Rozhdyonye Pobezhdat’ (Born to Win), Serdtsa Chempionov (Hearts of Champions), and Dolgy Put’ k Pobede (The Long Road to Victory), which are dedicated to Russian sport heroes.