PP Sports and Premier League legal battle rumbles on

PP Sports is preparing to take legal action against the Premier League, the Financial Times has reported.

The Chinese streaming service, which is owned by Suning Holdings Group, said it received ‘less than a third’ of the value of the three-year deal which was estimated to be worth around $700 million, despite paying half of the fee.

The English top flight cancelled the contract in September, two years early, after the broadcaster withheld a rights fee payment.

PP Sports attempted to renegotiate a new deal but when the Premier League refused to open discussions, according to PP Sports, the platform threatened to file a countersuit last September. Meanwhile, the Premier League announced it would be suing PP Sports for $215.3 million in unpaid rights fees.

The Premier League agreed a replacement deal with Chinese market rival Tencent Sports after its deal with PP Sports fell through, which guaranteed the league a $21.8 million up front payment.

PP Sports states that ‘fundamental changes’ to the structure of the league during last season, disrupted key commercial components of its Premier League contract, resulting in ‘substantial losses’ due to changes in kick-off times and matchday schedules. 

As a result of COVID-19 rescheduling, the Chinese broadcaster lost valuable Chinese primetime slots for Premier League matches, impacting its earnings capacity.  

The Premier League agreed to pay its domestic broadcaster partners a £300 million rebate due to the disruption of schedules caused by the coronavirus outbreak and PP Sports has suggested that it should be entitled to a sum of compensation.

The statement read: “The Premier League seems to have adopted a double standard and treated a domestic UK broadcaster differently from a Chinese broadcaster. We have made our best efforts to reach a compromise, but we have been left with no choice but to take legal action.”

The Financial Times has indicated that PP Sports is aiming to recoup at least $116.8 million’ to atone for its losses.

PP Sports’ parent company Suning has struggled to mitigate the financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Last week, it was reported that Suning was looking to sell off a proportion of its stake in Inter Milan to private equity firm BC Partners.

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