Armenia Needs a Dedicated, Public Sports Channel

Sports fans found out that Shant TV cancelled the sports segment of its Horizon news program.

Speaking to Media.am, Shant TV’s sports commentator Vardan Tadevosyan said that, according to the TV station, the segment was shut down because its ratings were low.

Tadevosyan said he was told that the sports segment was done poorly, which then might’ve had an impact on the Horizon news program’s high ratings. The sports segment was cancelled also because of a lack of sponsors (the sponsorship amount requested is 5 million AMD).

Meanwhile, Horizon director Aghasi Hunanyan assured Media.am that the sports segment of the news broadcast was cancelled only temporarily, for upgrades and modernization, and sports news still find their way in the regular news broadcasts. However, a fact is a fact: Horizon’s sports section is currently absent.

Usually, when a TV station declares itself a “family” channel, it undoubtedly also include sports news. Of course, Shant TV broadcasts professional Armenian boxer Vic Darchinyan’s matches, but is that sufficient for viewers, especially since those matches do not happen frequently?

It’s clear that the most active viewers on family channels are women, but it has to be considered that more than 30% of the audience is men, a majority of whom prefer to watch sports. 

For example, the Ukrainian family channel Inter, which has been on air since 1996, has a daily (except for weekends) sports program, roughly translated to “Sports in the Details”. It’s broadcast three times a day. Furthermore, since 2007, Inter TV, K2 Promotions, and Nemiroff announced a collaboration aimed at the advancement of boxing in the Ukraine. The broadcast of all the Klitschko brothers’ matches currently belongs to this station. The TV channel also broadcasts all the matches of Ukraine’s national football team.

Many TV channels, striving to increase their audience numbers, acquire rights to broadcast sports events. We recently saw striking evidence of this, when the broadcasting of major football events (the Armenian national team’s matches; UEFA Champions League; and matches from Spain, Germany, and Ukraine championships) moved from public broadcasters (H1, Shoghakat) to channels included in the PanArmenian Media Group (Armenia TV, ATV, and Lime TV).

There can be no doubt that this was done based on the fact that football events are lucrative — especially since the last round of victories by the Armenian team have led to greater interest and set records in viewing.

However, apart from going after TV ratings, channels should as much as possible preach sports and a healthy lifestyle, if we finally don’t want to become a nation that merely eats and drinks. By the way, a healthy lifestyle won’t become appealing by broadcasting only martial sports (recently, for example, broadcasting “bloody” sports has increased on Armenian channels).

It’s obvious that TV viewers watch with more pleasure those sports in which their country’s athletes are successful. In Russia, for example, it was discovered that the rating for viewing biathlon tournaments increased by 92.5% between 2004 and 2009. This is a category of sports in which Russia is always competing for the top places. 

The following table depicts an overview of sports programs and broadcasts on Armenian TV channels:


Sports segment on news program

“Chess World” on Saturdays

“Chess 64” on Sundays

Broadcasting of Argentina’s and Spain’s football teams’ home games


Sports segment on “Lraber” news program

“Pro-Football” daily program (except the weekends)

Broadcasting of England’s football premier leagues

Armenia TV

Sports segment on “Zham” news program

Broadcasting of Armenia’s national football team matches

Broadcasting of UEFA Champions League matches

“Footbali Oragir” (“Football Diary”) on Sundays

ATV Broadcasting of Spain’s championship’s football matches
Shant TV Broadcasting of boxer Vic Darchinyan’s matches
Yerevan TV

Sports segment on “Lratu” news program

Daily (except for Mondays and Thursdays) broadcasting of muay thai boxing matches

Kentron TV

Sports segment on “Epikentron” (“Epicenter”) news program 

“Martakan Akumb” (“martial club”) broadcast twice on Fridays

“Sportkentron” (“sport center”) broadcast on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays

Yerkir Media

Sports segment on “Yerkirn Aysor” (“The country today”) news program

“Herustafutbol” (“TV Football”) program on Fridays and Saturdays twice

Lime TV

A review of football in Germany

Broadcasting of Germany’s Bundesliga and Ukraine’s football championship matches

AR TV Sports segment on “Azdarar” news program
Shoghakat TV No sports program

It is my deep conviction that the time has come for a dedicated sports channel in Armenia, where we can become acquainted with not only our own, but also other, international sports news. 

For example, in Russia (where there are numerous sports channels), the need arose in 2002, when a Davis Cup tennis match that had great public interest wasn’t broadcast on the state channel since the broadcasting rights belonged to private broadcaster NTV Plus.

And a decision was made to create a sports channel accessible to all — Russia 2. 

I’m sure that a sports channel with Armenian content would be in demand by Armenian viewers. In any case, leaving sports programs and broadcasts only on private channel is not really the right move.

Tigran Hovhannisyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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