English Premier League signs TV deal with China’s Tencent Sports

Chelsea take on Brighton in their first Premier League game of the 2020/21 season.


LONDON — The English Premier League announced Thursday that it has signed a one-year broadcast deal with China’s Tencent Sports after a previous deal with a Chinese streaming service collapsed as a result of the pandemic. 

“From Saturday 19 September, supporters in China will be able to watch all 372 remaining Premier League matches live,” the Premier League said in a statement on its website after the Financial Times broke the story. 

Half of the soccer matches will be free to watch on Tencent Sports while the other half will only be available to those with a Tencent Sports membership. 

The Premier League said supporters will also be able to get updates and news about clubs and players via Tencent’s digital platforms, including WeChat, QQ.com, Tencent Video, Penguin Live App, Tencent News App, Tencent Sports App and Kan Dian. 

The tie-up comes after the Premier League terminated a three-year contract in September with Chinese streaming service PPTV that was reportedly worth around $650 million. 

Around the same time, the Premier League was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The value of the deal with Tencent has not been disclosed but the Financial Times reports that it is less than the deal with PPTV, citing sources familiar with the matter. 

The new season commenced on Saturday.  

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said in a statement: “We are excited to have agreed this partnership with Tencent ensuring our supporters in China can enjoy following Premier League action throughout this season.”

“We and our clubs have an extremely passionate fanbase in China and are looking forward to working with the team at Tencent to engage with fans in new ways over the coming season,” he added.

Tencent Sports General Manager Ewell Zhao said the Premier League has many fans in China.

“In collaboration with the Premier League, Tencent Sports hopes to leverage its platforms and technology to bring the drama of Premier League matches to fans and share with them the passion and excitement of football,” said Zhao. 

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