LeSports to give up CSL exclusive online rights

LeSports’ exclusive online broadcast rights to the Chinese Super League (CSL) may soon come to an end. PPTV, the video streaming unit of electronics retailer Suning Holdings Group, could acquire the rights to also broadcast the Chinese Super League.

According to Sports Money, LeSports and PPTV are expected to bid for the new media broadcast rights separately. According to the reports, the bid could be worth $500 million Yuan ($72 million).

In the first season, LeSports had chosen to have exclusive rights to the CSL. It now wants non-exclusive rights because the CSL matches were unable to attract as many new paid subscribers as expected. Watching matches on TV is free while online subscriptions are charged.

LeSports had announced last year that it had acquired the exclusive new media broadcast rights to the CSL matches for two seasons since 2016 in a deal that worth 2.7 billion Yuan ($393 million).

PPTV and LeSports are battling for a share of eyeballs in the Chinese market. PPTV signed a deal for bringing La Liga matches online to China and paid $260 million for five year rights. It signed the deal in 2015. It also bought the rights for English Premier League for Chinese and Macau online market for $721 million for 2019-2022.

LeSports has rights three-year rights for FA Cup up to the 2019 season. It also broadcast Serie A matches free in China in 2015 and tried to implement a pay per view model in China. For the 2017 season, it had plans to charge two out of every 10 games for the league.