Russian State TV Will Not Air 2018 Games If Country's Team Is Banned
Russian state TV said on Friday that it "would not broadcast the Winter Olympics from South Korea next year if the Russian team is banned from the games over doping," according to the AFP. The IOC exec board is "due to meet next month" to consider whether Russia can compete in PyeongChang in February. The press service of the All-Russia State TV & Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) said, "If our team is barred from participating in the Winter Olympics, our channels will not show the Games." The Kremlin said that it could "understand" the decision of the state media group. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, "Broadcasting the Olympic Games requires the acquisition of rights that are very expensive. These sums are clearly spent in the hope of great interest from Russian viewers. If our team is not participating in the Olympics, then the interest of Russian viewers in these programs will be reduced. But it is still too soon to talk about that." Three Russian channels were originally set to broadcast the Games: VGTRK's Rossiya 1, the state-controlled Channel One and sports network Match TV, which is indirectly owned by gas firm Gazprom. Channel One will reportedly "also boycott" the Games if the national team is banned. Match TV said that its agreements to screen the Games "were still in force" (AFP, 11/18).