Chinese money is set to pour into the English Premiership
soccer football league after PPTV, an online streaming platform in China, reportedly agreed to a three-year deal to broadcast matches between 2019-2022. The Associated Press reports that the deal could be worth $700 million (£564 million), which would be the league’s most lucrative overseas broadcast deal to date.
Right now, Super Sports Media Group pays an estimated $20 million per season to broadcast the Premier League in China, so PPTV’s contract is potentially more than 10 times higher.
PPTV already broadcasts Spain’s La Liga football in China, so adding the Premier League — which is arguably the most-watched domestic football tournament worldwide — would significantly strengthen its position.
The company, which is owned by retail giant Sunning, is one of a number of Chinese online entertainment platforms bidding to tap into the surge in internet adoption in China. Alibaba is one company that is investing heavily in online content, having acquired “China’s YouTube” — Youku Tudou — for over $4 billion, bought a $1 billion stake in Wasu Media and recently launched a $1.5 billion fund for entertainment-related investments. Bringing Western content to Chinese audiences is a big focus of those businesses and sport, and football, in particular, is one of the more proven genres.
Football is also a major focus for Chinese President Xi Jinping. The country has invested billions of dollars in bringing top players and managerial talent into its domestic league, while also creating grassroots development academies to foster talented players inside the country. But the money is also flowing outward, too. Recently, Sunning itself bought a controlling stake in Inter Milan, one of Italy’s most successful teams, for $307 million, joining the burgeoning ranks of Chinese owners of international sides.