Russia's Yandex signs multi-year agreement to stream NHL games

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russian internet group Yandex is pictured at the company's office in Kiev, Ukraine May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian internet firm Yandex and the National Hockey League (NHL) have reached a multi-year agreement for the streaming of all NHL games in Russia, they said on Thursday.

Several prominent Russian national team players, including Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Evgeny Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are highly popular in their native country.

The terms of the deal, which will begin with the 2019-2020 season, were not disclosed. It includes the broadcast of both regular season games and the Stanley Cup playoffs on Yandex’s streaming platform.

Leonid Savkov, chief commercial officer of Yandex, said in a statement that the agreement would give Russians a “more accessible and innovative way to watch games for free” on its streaming platform.

David Proper, NHL Executive Vice President of International and Media Strategy, said the deal was meant to “reach an even broader audience.”

In recent years the NHL has boosted its international presence, with occasional games played in Europe and promotional campaigns in China.

The NHL’s regular season, which starts next month and ends in April 2020, includes 1,271 games. The league has 31 teams split between Canada and the United States.

Reporting by Nadezhda Tsydenova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christian Schmollinger