Have you tried to offer your own commentator who speaks English?
During negotiations we came out with such a proposal, but our colleagues refused. We had a person who is fluent in English. But ESPN, unlike other colleagues from the Czech Republic and other countries, have asked us to leave the sound track in Russian. Apparently they will have someone on there who will translate it and explain to the local team what's going on.
Can you tell us how it all started?
The negotiations began on the day when the NHL officially announced a lockout. It was clear that it would happen, so about two weeks before the Americans started the first cautious inquiries. Turning first to the league directly, but we have decided to use our international agency responsible for broadcasting of all of our events abroad. We were negotiating throughout the second half of September. You know how it is; one side wants to pay as little as possible, the other to sell the product to be profitable. In the end everyone got what they wanted.
How ESPN gets the KHL feed?
The mechanism is as follows; the channel selects matches from our international package, which includes the games of the highest quality. Obviously, ESPN will give preference to the games with the NHL stars. We will work through the European satellite, just like with our other international partners. As of now they selected five games and then will go with our international package. It is unclear how often KHL will appear on the channel; once a week, twice or even more often... There is only the guaranteed amount, which we will receive regardless of how many games will be shown.
Can you tell how much it is?
No, we can't give the specific figure. I can only say that from the moment ESPN contacted us the amount has increased significantly. We immediately rejected the first offer from the Americans, and then we received much more interesting version.
What are your feelings, how many viewers will be overseas?
I have no illusions about it. You have to understand that to American we are Martians, and arenas, in which we play, are Martians too. In the U.S. they are raised with love to their country from the childhood, and they only care about their own product. And the broadcast will be on ESPN3 which works in Live mode. That means that broadcast on theie local time will be in the morning.
Why there are no games with Malkin and Gonchar?
Game selection is an exclusive prerogative of ESPN. But for my part I will do everything possible to discourage broadcast from Magnitogorsk. It's because the quality of broadcast is catastrophically horrible. These games are not included in the package that we offer abroad. Unfortunately, we can't do anything on the regions level. And if in other cities there is a movement to ensure that it would a good product, Magnitogorsk still broadcast a black-and-green feed. If in America they will any game it will be only on the road.
Do you think the KHL is ready to enter the market seriously? The pictures of old arenas with half-empty stands can seriously affect the reputation of the league.
We just don' include poor quality games into our international package. What we show abroad is only what we are not ashamed to show. This is a product that we, "Russia 2" or our foreign partners in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia and Belarus do. Or what produces NTV Plus on our order. These are our the best directors and commentators.