Business / Technology

ESPN joins hands with Tencent to offer sports

(Agencies) Updated: 2016-02-04 07:36

ESPN joins hands with Tencent to offer sports

Dancers perform under a logo of Tencent at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, May 6, 2014.[Photo/Agencies]

NBA playoffs and soccer matches to be shown with Chinese commentary

Walt Disney Co's ESPN, the global cable and satellite television channel, will offer live games and Chinese language sports commentary online in China under a multiyear deal with Tencent Holdings Ltd, the country's largest Internet company.

ESPN correspondents will provide analysis for the National Basketball Association playoffs and international soccer matches shown on Tencent's QQ sports site, starting in April, the companies said.

ESPN also will contribute articles to Tencent's sites and distribute live streams of the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball championship tournament, 100 other college basketball games and the X Games, its extreme sports events.

The deal underscores Disney's county-by-country approach to the distribution of its video content as viewers watch more videos online.

The majority of viewing of NBA games in China takes place through computers, tablets or other mobile devices. The financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

"This agreement will help us serve millions of Chinese viewers and bring our coverage of basketball, international soccer and other sports to them like never before," said Russell Wolff, executive vice-president of ESPN International.

The number of US customers receiving ESPN, the nation's largest sports channel, fell to 92 million last year, a 7 percent decrease from 2013, according to Nielsen data.

In 2013, Disney sold its United Kingdom and Ireland ESPN channels to BT Group Plc. The prior year, Disney sold half its interest in ESPN Star Sports, a pan-Asian sports channel, to what is now 21st Century Fox Inc.

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