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Livestreaming platforms playing to win

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-10 09:53
An anchor hosts a live broadcast of a soccer match between teams from Beijing and Tianjin, in Beijing in April 2018. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese digital broadcasters are gearing up efforts to acquire the media rights of major sports events around the world

Zhang Hao, 34, is a fan of Bayern Munich soccer club and loves watching the Bundesliga, Germany's premier soccer competition, during weekends.

"In the past, I watched soccer matches on CCTV-5, China Central Television's sports channel, but now I have shifted to livestreaming sports platforms," said Zhang, an employee with a tech company in Beijing.

Zhang said CCTV lost the media rights to the Bundesliga last year, while PP Sports, a livestreaming platform under China's retailer Suning.com Co, has secured exclusive linear and digital rights to the league's fixtures broadcast on the Chinese mainland for the next five years, until the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.

"I need to pay 12 yuan ($1.7) for some high-profile competitions each time, such as Bayern Munich vs Dortmund, and I am considering purchasing a one-year membership."

Chinese livestreaming sports platforms are gearing up efforts to win the media rights of major sports events around the world.

PP Sports has acquired the broadcasting rights of some top soccer events around the world, including the English Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A, France's Ligue 1, the Asian and European Champions League competitions, the Chinese Super League and the UEFA Europa League.

Sun Weimin, vice-chairman of Suning, said the company will continue to increase investments in the sports sector, with hopes of using high-quality content to attract more users.

In 2016, PP Sports obtained the exclusive broadcasting rights for EPL matches on the Chinese mainland and in Macao in a three-year deal starting from the 2019-20 season.

"In recent years, we have been studying our users, and it's obvious that sports have become a lifestyle," said Sun, noting the paying subscribers of PP Sports have exceeded 6 million.

"PP Sports can become the vehicle and medium to connect resources, commercialization and soccer together in one ecosystem. Commerce and soccer, this is Suning's real area of expertise," he said.

In the new season, PP Sports will provide fans in China with a live match broadcasting service, using special visual technology to create a unique match atmosphere, multi-angle replays and expert tactical analysis, bringing fans as close to the Premier League as possible.

The digital broadcaster is establishing news bureaus in London, Manchester and Liverpool, and will also use live broadcast, images and articles, short-form video, fan zones and offline events to provide supporters with a rich experience and content.

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