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Le Sports teams up with Ti’ao Power: a new era for Chinese football?

By He Lanying Wednesday, 24 Feb 2016 18:00

A huge bet by Li Ruigang on the whopping price of RMB8 billion paid for the broadcasting rights to the Chinese Super League appears to have paid off after Ti’ao Power resold a portion of the rights to Le Sports this week.

Li’s China Media Capital (CMC) and subsidiary Ti’ao Power paid RMB 8 billion ($1.3bn) last October to purchase the five-year broadcasting rights to China’s top football league, CSL. According to CMC, the agreed deal entails payments of RMB2 billion for the first two years and RMB6 billion for the next three years.

At a press conference held on Tuesday by Le Sports, the sports unit of China’s leading online video company LeEco, an announcement was made by the company that it has paid RMB 2.7 billion to acquire the broadcasting rights to CSL for the first two years. This seems to demonstrate that CMC’s investment in CSL is worthwhile and the belief in Chinese football is continuing to grow. 

Ma Chengquan, chairman of the Chinese Football Association Super League, said: "An opportunity for the development of China's future in football was made with this change. All clubs in the CSL are set to increase investment in 2016 to attract better players. I believe that in 2016 the CSL will become more exciting, and I hope Le Sports and Ti'ao Power will elevate the global impact and brand value, as well as the broad reach and depth of the CSL, with their Internet-based broadcasting innovations."

A New era for CSL to achieve a global reach

Starting with the 2016 season, Le Sports and its subsidiaries Zhangyu TV and Soda Soccer will stream all 240 matches live in high definition in mainland China, the United States, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Canada and much of Southeast Asia from the 2016-17 season. Besides, Le Sports and Ti’ao Power also announced a cross-shareholding plan and agreed to leverage their strengths and expertise in working toward expanding global viewership of the CSL.

CEO of Le Sports, Zhenjian Lei, said: "Le Sports is constantly trying to break through the bottleneck of traditional broadcasting using the Internet and innovation. We believe that with Ti'ao Power, we will be able to explore new ways to amplify and commercialize the CSL on its way to globalization using our Internet-powered platforms. This will be revolutionary and an example for the entire Chinese sports industry, whilst also being a part of Le Sports' ecosystem profiting from upstream to downstream."

Start of a pay model era? 

People in China are used to consuming sports content for free, so the pay model has been sluggish for years. However, Le Sports plans to break the ice by announcing plans to launch a new product in 2018 that requires users to pay to watch CSL games online. 

“Paid content is the future of high-quality sports programming,” said Yu Hang, vice-president of strategic co-operation.

Source: Yahoo

Proofread by John Devlin.



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