By Emily Goddard

Azad Rahimov and Arif Alishanov signing the broadcast contract ©Baku 2015Baku 2015 has signed a deal with national broadcaster Azerbaijan Television and Radio Broadcasting CJSC (AzTV) to air coverage of this year's inaugural European Games in the host country.

The deal will see the continental event, including live action, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Torch Relay, being screened on both the AzTV and Idman Azerbaycan (Sport) channels over 17 days.

"The Baku 2015 European Games will be a defining moment in Azerbaijan's history," Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sports and chief executive of Baku 2015, said.

"AzTV is a national institution for the Azerbaijani people, so it is wonderful that the whole country will be able to experience the event and support our competitors."

AzTV reaches 99.96 per cent of the nation's population and its sports channels already hold rights to major events, including the English Premier League and FA Cup, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, the Italian Serie A championship, the Spanish La Liga championship and Copa del Rey, Formula 1, the Azerbaijani Topaz Premier League and the national volleyball championship.

Simon Clegg, Azad Rahimov and Arif Alishanov at the Baku 2015 and AzTV signing ceremony ©Baku 2015Simon Clegg, Azad Rahimov and Arif Alishanov at the Baku 2015 and AzTV signing ceremony ©Baku 2015

"It is vitally important for the inaugural European Games to reach as many viewers in the host country of Azerbaijan as possible, and I'm delighted that we've reached an agreement with AzTV," Simon Clegg, chief operating officer of Baku 2015, said.

"As the national broadcaster, AzTV is the perfect partner for Baku 2015 to bring the Games to all Azerbaijanis."

AzTV chairman Arif Alishanov explained his firm is "very proud" to bring the first European Games to viewers across Azerbaijan.

"This is a historic moment for the country, and we will play our part as the leading Azerbaijani network by partnering with Baku 2015 to promote the Games, and sharing the wonderful Torch Relay as it makes its procession around the country," he added.

This latest partnership means Baku 2015 has now announced deals to broadcast the Games in 54 countries across the globe, including in the United States, China and across the Arab world.

But, they still have to announce deals for Britain and Russia, two of the biggest markets in Europe. 

The first ever European Games, which are expected to attract more than 6,000 athletes to compete across 20 sports, will take place in the Azerbaijani capital from June 12 to 28 this year.

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