Following coverage of the stretch run and playoffs last season, One World Sports has inked a multiyear, multiplatform rights deal with the Kontinental Hockey League.
Under the pact, the global sports proponent will carry up to 99 live games, including 50 regular-season contests and complete coverage of the playoffs and the Gagarin Cup Finals in April.
The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, was negotiated for the KHL by UFA Sports GmbH.
Sportscaster Ed Cohen, who, among numerous hosting roles, has served as an NHL Network anchor and called last year’s KHL playoffs and Gagarin Cup Finals coverage for ONE World Sports, will be calling games again this season.
One World Sport’s commitment to the KHL expands its ice hockey portfolio – the programmer is also airing the inaugural campaign of Europe’s Champions Hockey League
“The KHL offers some of the best professional hockey in the world,” said Joel Feld, ONE World Sports executive vice president, of programming and production. “This year we have extended programming agreements with major professional sports leagues on three continents. Now, fans in the U.S. and Canada can experience high-level professional hockey while following their favorite NHL alumni in the KHL.”
“Our previous one-year deal with ONE World Sports was a chance to introduce the KHL and our quality production to American fans,” said Ilya Kochevrin, KHL-Marketing’s CEO and league vice president. “The current multiyear contract extension underscores our commitment to our U.S. broadcast partner and increases the number of KHL games available to American sports fans by 80%. The upcoming season, featuring KHL ‘heavyweights’ as well as European and Russian newcomer teams, will surely excite passionate hockey fans.”
The Russia-based KHL was founded in 2008 and includes 28 teams from Russia and Europe. Teams hail from Finland, Belarus, Croatia, Latvia, Slovakia, Kazakhstan and Russia. Several dozens of former NHL players have decided to continue their careers in the KHL during the League’s years of operation. The 2013-2014 season featured former Nashville Predator Alexander Radulov, currently the KHL’s top scorer; former Maurice Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo; former Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk; and Sandish Ozolinsh, the Latvian-born, six-time NHL All-Star who recently retired to enter politics.
In April, Metallurg Magnitorogsk won the seven-game playoff final series, securing a championship for coach Mike Keenan on the 20th anniversary of his 1994 Stanley Cup victory as the head coach of the New York Rangers and the first ever Gagarin Cup victory for the Magnitogorsk squad.
With the recent launch on Charter systems, One World Sports has built its subscriber base to some 30 million. It also has affiliate deals with Verizon FiOS, Cablevision, Dish Network, Mediacom, Hawaiian Telcom and Google Fiber.