The English Premier League has sold its television rights in China to streaming service PPTV for around $700 million, a source familiar with the matter said, several times the size of past deals as it cashes in on a growing enthusiasm for soccer.
The three-year deal with PPTV, part of retail group Suning , is one of the Premier League’s largest ever deals abroad and will kick in from the 2019/20 season, the source said. He could not be named as the deal is not yet public.
The Premier League has not confirmed the deal. PPTV, one of China’s largest streaming services, declined to comment.
Under President Xi Jinping, China has been looking to expand its global presence in the sport. It has invested billions of dollars to develop grassroots soccer academies, brought high-profile players and managers into China from overseas, and is buying into global assets from Italian club Inter Milan to Manchester City.
The Premier League, for its part, has seen television revenues shoot up globally in recent years – back home in Britain, pay-TV group Sky last year agreed to pay 4.2 billion pounds to show 126 live English Premier League matches a season from 2016 to 2019.