Premier League terminates Chinese media-rights partnerships

Premier League
Credit: Nigel French/PA Archive/PA Images

The Premier League has announced the termination of its £564m media-rights agreement with Chinese broadcasters with immediate effect.

The Chinese TV deal was well documented as being one of the Premier League’s most lucrative international broadcast agreements following its announcement in 2019. BBC Sport has reported that the reason for the termination is due to financial complications as opposed to any political tensions.

According to the Daily Mail, in March Suning Holdings, which owns the Chinese streaming service PPTV along with Serie A club Inter Milan, failed to make a payment to the Premier League, which is reported to be around £160m, in March.

The Premier League also rejected a new three year extension from Suning Holdings over broadcast rights for the campaigns covering 2022-2025.

A Premier League spokesperson stated: “The Premier League confirms that it has today terminated its agreements for Premier League coverage in China with its licensee in that territory. 

“The Premier League will not be commenting further on the matter at this stage.”

Premier League clubs are set to suffer an even greater financial impact as a result of the termination of the deal due to the drop in broadcast revenue. Moreover, the Premier League’s overall revenue streams were already expected to be lower than originally planned due to the impact of COVID-19 and the competition subsequently being postponed until June 17.

Tensions between England and China have started to grow following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that the country banned telecom company Huawei from developing 5G in Britain. 

Following that, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, which also acquired rights to broadcast fixtures, chose not to air a selection of Premier League games whilst CCTV Sports also moved Liverpool’s 5-3 victory against Chelsea to a less viewed digital channel.