Premier League agrees massive £560m TV deal with China
Three-year contract is worth ten times the current deal but reflects China's sudden interest in football
The Premier League's coffers are to be swollen still further after it reportedly signed a lucrative new TV deal with China, which could be worth £560m over three seasons.
The contract with the Chinese video streaming service Suning PPTV is set to be the Premier League's "biggest-ever overseas broadcast sale", reports the BBC and is worth ten times more than its current Chinese TV deal.
According to the Associated Press, the three-year agreement, which begins in 2019, will see all 380 Premier League matches broadcast across China each season. It also proves the "enduring attraction of the world's richest soccer competition", despite concerns in the UK over declining domestic viewing figures.
The contract makes China the Premier League's "most lucrative overseas territory", says the Daily Mail. "Previously, NBC's agreement to broadcast the Premier League in the United States was the highest value foreign deal, at $1bn (£803m) for seven seasons or $167m (£134m) per campaign."
A new domestic TV deal worth £5.1bn over three seasons began in the UK at the start of the current campaign and has turned English clubs into the richest in the world. But the new Chinese deal does not kick in until 2019, suggesting that the next three-year cycle of Premier League rights could prove even more lucrative.
Part of the huge jump could be down to Chinese state interest in football.
The company that has agreed the deal, Suning, "is already invested in European football after it bought a controlling stake in Italian club Inter Milan in June", notes the BBC. "China's President Xi Jinping has led a drive for businesses to invest more in football in a bid to turn the country into a footballing superpower. He has set a target for the nation to be the world's biggest sports economy by 2025."
West Brom, Aston Villa and Wolves already have Chinese owners, and the Chinese government has a 13 per cent stake in Manchester City. Meanwhile, the country has been identified as a growth market by English clubs who "parade their players in a series of exhibition games across China as soon as the domestic season is finished", says BBC correspondent Robin Brant, who adds that the deal shows how "China's association with English football is deepening".