Over the last couple of years, we've seen more and more major tech companies step into sports streaming, from Facebook and Twitch to Twitter and Amazon. Yandex has just landed a major deal on that front, as it will stream every NHL game for free in Russia for the next several years.
The multi-year partnership starts this season, which gets underway October 2nd. Russians will be able to watch games thought the Yandex website and apps. The broadcasts will feature Russian commentary and include the Stanley Cup playoffs.
There'll be some interactive components -- viewers can chat with fellow fans and use reaction emojis as they're watching. Games and highlights will be available on demand after the fact, and fans can sign up for notifications so they don't miss their favorite team's matches.
The deal seems like a good fit. Russia is, of course, a hockey hotbed and Yandex is the biggest tech company and search engine there. Last year, users searched for hockey terms more than 93 million times, and Russian players in the NHL are among the most-searched athletes on the platform.