Premier League forced to cancel sizeable Chinese broadcast contract

Thursday, 3 September, 2020 30comments  |  Jump to last
The Premier League's most lucrative overseas television rights deals has had to be scrapped.

Chinese streaming service, PPTV, withheld its latest payment of £160m that was due in March when the league shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the deal has now been terminated with immediate effect over non-payment of an instalment that was part of a £564m three-year deal covering 2019 to 2021.

The League issued a statement earlier today announcing the decision: "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."

The cancellation of the contract, the biggest of the overseas broadcast deals, will deliver another financial set-back to English top-flight clubs who are already dealing with lost revenue from having the play games behind closed doors.

According to a report in The Guardian, the League is searching for another provider in China to take up the broadcast rights in that country to make up the shortfall which, as it stands, will cost each Premier League club around £7m for the next two years.  

Reader Comments (30)

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Paul Hewitt
1 Posted 03/09/2020 at 15:13:21
I see the Premier League have cancelled there biggest oversea broadcaster (China) for failing to pay. Will lose over £500 million pounds. I've been saying for years the Premier League bubble will burst one day. It's now happening...

I can see clubs having to sell top players soon, massively cutting wages. Can't say I'm too bothered. It's a totally over-hyped league anyway.

Hugh Jenkins
2 Posted 03/09/2020 at 15:55:37
Paul - they have cancelled the contract with a broadcaster in China (not China itself) as the broadcaster has missed its payments since March and is in arrears by £160 million.

I dare say that a new Chinese broadcaster will be found to take its place pdq.

John Zapa
3 Posted 03/09/2020 at 16:50:50
Now is the time for the club to be a lot more financially responsible.

Our neighbour's very cautious behaviour is reflective of the extremely turbulent times we are in, while the management here hand out lucrative 5-year contracts like sweets, pay large fees for players in the last year of their contracts, and hand long-term deals to 29-year-olds, never learning anything from past mistakes.

Not to forget the elephant in the room: Bramley Moore Dock, that they are still dreaming about when it's clear there is absolutely no financial case for.

Tony Everan
4 Posted 03/09/2020 at 16:52:58
Hugh, Paul, Chinese rights PPTV have reneged on the payment since March. Looks like there will be a legal battle.

They own 70% of Inter Milan so they could just send us Lukaku for our share of the pot.

Anthony Murphy
5 Posted 03/09/2020 at 17:05:43
Worrying. Any other similar broadcast contracts holding back payments? The big global clubs like the RS will be considering their moves carefully– break rank and strike their own deals...
Paul Smith
6 Posted 03/09/2020 at 17:25:54
It's not worrying they wouldn't cancel unless they could get another deal elsewhere. Covid-19 is exceptional and the footie was shite and in empty grounds, I wouldn't pay either.
Paul Hewitt
7 Posted 03/09/2020 at 17:33:26
Let's hope other TV companies cancel. Then football can go back to the fans.
Dan Nulty
8 Posted 03/09/2020 at 17:35:15
I disagree, Paul, I wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the big TV contracts? I hope so.

Listening to Gareth Bale blaming his football club for everything today. His football club pay him €600k a week to sit around and not play. Take a pay cut and go play somewhere else if it is that important to you, you can't need any more money.

FIFA need to introduce a cap to players wages and agents are only paid by players, not clubs. Stop money being taken from the game and get it reinvested in stadium, matchday experiences, academies and grassroots.

Will never happen but I have a dream.

Patrick McFarlane
9 Posted 03/09/2020 at 17:36:26
John #1

Yup, definitely short-sighted of Everton, spending money when there is absolutely no requirement to do so unless of course, we'd like to see some different English teams visiting Goodison before we leave for Bramley Moore Dock.

I think International politics has much to do with this decision to cancel this overseas contract, I also think the major clubs will want to sell their TV rights as individual clubs rather than a collective and that could test Everton's balance sheet, but we'll have to wait and see.

Good one, Paul #4, No TV – no big money, that would guarantee that we can't possibly waste money on overseas players in contracts or wages and the club would have to rely on our home-grown English players.

Why not go the whole hog and stop paying players at all and complete a return to the origins of the game, played by gentlemen for their enjoyment alone?

Frank Crewe
10 Posted 03/09/2020 at 17:59:35
This is what happens when you alienate your biggest trading partners and China is in the top three as far as the UK is concerned. We'll alienate the EU next year with a hard Brexit.

Hopefully they can resell those rights to other countries.

Bobby Mallon
11 Posted 03/09/2020 at 18:18:56
John Zapa @1,

Do you really think the club would truly put their investments in danger? I guarantee they would have known all about that deal weeks ago.

If we are going to cut our cloth then I'm fine with that, but then fans should not moan about where we finish in whatever league we are in.

Rob Dolby
12 Posted 03/09/2020 at 18:37:52
1 & 2 why mention the shite in a post relating to Chinese broadcasting rights?
Joe McMahon
13 Posted 03/09/2020 at 18:45:46
John, our neighbours also have the benefit of a ready made first team, squad, and academy players.
Anthony A Hughes
14 Posted 03/09/2020 at 19:37:44
£160 million? Chicken feed. The top 5 players in the world probably earn that in a year combined. Bale earns reputedly £30mil a year on his own.
Paul Hewitt
15 Posted 03/09/2020 at 20:11:16
Anthony @11. It's more like £500 million.
Phil Sammon
16 Posted 03/09/2020 at 20:40:52
Frank 7,

What are you on about? The Chinese company broke the contract so the Premier League pulled the pin. Why are you banging on about British foreign policy and Brexit? Nothing to do with it.

Jim Rafter
17 Posted 03/09/2020 at 20:51:44
Totally agree with Paul Hewitt (4)

The money wrecked this game. I'd love to see Sky sink. Then we wouldn't also have to listen to Jaaaamiiiie Caraggger.

Brian Hennessy
18 Posted 03/09/2020 at 21:13:41
Got rid of my Sky subscription this summer and should have done it long ago.

Mugs like me giving this shower my hard earner money have helped destroy the game. I shall not be back.

David Matthews
19 Posted 03/09/2020 at 21:20:23
With a population in the billions, the demand in China for viewing Premier League games will be off the scale. Pending an improving Covid-19 situation, even with limited crowds at Premier League grounds, the former £534 Million deal will likely be replaced by a deal with a new provider in China.
Mike Gaynes
20 Posted 03/09/2020 at 21:42:39
Not so much, David #16. Chinese footy fans are now quite devoted to their own Super League. Live and replay games are available regularly, as are those from other countries.

The NBA has had a long-term foothold in China, but many NBA games are now blacked out there, particularly those of the Houston Rockets, because Houston's GM tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protesters last fall. Houston's next playoff series will go unseen over there. But there's no sign of a popular uprising or consumer outrage.

Except for our own Tyias Browning, no English players are starring in the Chinese Super League. And Chinese fans have no particular affinity to the Premier League. PPTV may have simply pulled the plug because the demand wasn't matching their rights fees. I think that demand is a lot closer to "barely detectable" than "off the scale"... Sorry.

Justin Doone
21 Posted 03/09/2020 at 22:00:04
I can only presume they waited and gave them every chance to organise a payment plan. Pulling the plug whilst the whole world economy is in financial difficulty seems awfully harsh.

Sadly, I do expect this to be a short-term issue and whilst it may take another year or so to get back to a more 'normal' way of life football globally is growing.

For agents and player salaries to be capped would need to be done on a world basis, ie, Fifa, but they stand to lose millions themselves.

Any European-wide initiative would send top players abroad to the highest bidders, USA, China, Japan, South America.

As for our own dealings, Everton have been to handing out greatly improved contracts for average to poor performances. I agree, more season-long loans should be the norm for players on big salaries so we can assess them with less financial risk.

Will Mabon
22 Posted 03/09/2020 at 22:05:42
Strange to see how the minds of sports fans and other TV viewers have been gradually coaxed and shaped to produce the required consumer. I've heard many people grumble about what a rip-off the annual TV licence is, whilst simultaneously paying not far short of the same figure per month for their full home package.

Whatever one's resources, a grand to a grand-and-a-half per year is a serious amount of money to spend in this regard. Prior to last season, someone on TalkSport (Goldsmith I think) said to watch all top-level football, including Europe etc, came out at 880-odd quid for the year. Just the football. Crazy.

Did it myself for a year or two, some time back, sport only; I hate general TV and never watch it. I can't be doing with all the peripheral crap either, pundits, political piggy-backing and more. All that matters to many (most?) of us is the 90 minutes on the field. Few minutes chat on MotD was okay, and the big day of the FA Cup.

So I'm with others, above. If it could all fall back a way whilst preserving the core of it, that would be great. There actually is a way, but it will never happen.

Bezos will end up with it all anyway, if things don't change.

Mike Gaynes
23 Posted 03/09/2020 at 22:29:40
Not all, Will. China's Alibaba has Bezos's bets covered. And FYI, their Taobao subsidiary owns the Guangzhou club that dominates Chinese football. That's who Browning plays for.
Will Mabon
24 Posted 03/09/2020 at 22:55:35
I know little about things in China, Mike, in fact nothing, so will take your word there.

Seeing what's happening generally though, I'd go for Amazon in the long haul. Guy has raised his employee number from a third of a million to half a million on the back of this current situation, with more being sought. Relentless.

Paul Hewitt
25 Posted 03/09/2020 at 23:05:52
I wouldn't buy anything from Amazon. Horrible company.
Colin Glassar
26 Posted 03/09/2020 at 23:24:52
And tax dodgers to boot, Paul. Say no to Amazon.
Alex Kociuba
27 Posted 04/09/2020 at 05:38:02
I am not defending Amazon in any way, but it's up to the authorities and nations to tax Amazon properly – you can't expect or allow companies or corporations to do it themselves. Having said this, Prime is shite, and Bezos can go to hell.

But back to China; I think the Premier League are actually confident of an even bigger contract with another Chinese provider rather than anything else suggested. The thirst for the Premier League and China's expanding wealth means only one thing.

Terence Leong
28 Posted 04/09/2020 at 06:10:55
The Premier League is ultimately a business, and a successful one at that.

I agree with Alex #24, that it's likely that the Premer League feels that they can get a better deal with some other Chinese provider, than to close the door on the Chinese market.

NBA, for all their supposed noise on criticizing the Chinese government over Hong Kong, still wants the Chinese market. It's "smoke and mirrors" really, so that they can be seen to be palatable to their own American stakeholders.

Benn Chambers
29 Posted 04/09/2020 at 08:17:46
£560M divided by 20 clubs, over 3 years, is about £8M a season. It's not a huge amount if we're honest but the timing of it is not great with the Pandemic. Make no mistake, this is 100% political and is as a result of Boris telling “How are we” to fuck off over the 5G contract. It's tit for tat now.

I'll tell you one thing: if the UK and US companies shifted production of their goods from China's cheap labour market over to their own countries, China would come out a lot worse. Most of their economy is based on manufacturing.

Let's face it, if you buy Chinese, you buy twice. It's crap. Unless it's made for a reputable country. I remember a lad working in Jaguar Land Rover telling me that when China's plants started making the Evoque, the Chinese stopped buying it. The production got moved back to Halewood and the sales rocketed in China again.

While it benefits no-one really, I'd imagine China have a lot more to lose than us and the USA if relations soured.

Let's also hope Messi comes to Man City and the stadiums fill up soon and the Premier League will have broadcasters fighting over who takes over PPTV's deal. It will truly stand alone as the best league and now with the best players.

I do agree with the points made regarding the clubs needing to be a bit more financially responsible. I hope after this latest splurge, on proven talent that transforms us immediately, we adopt more of a Dortmund approach. Hoovering up the best youngsters and bringing them through; if we lose them, it's for ridiculous money.

Gomes, Allan, Doucouré and James has bought us 3 or 4 seasons of a first-class midfield to enable us to identify, sign and bring through the next generation.

On a separate note, I hope we absolutely milk the nipples dry from the James transfer. He is a global superstar with only Messi and Ronaldo who have more social media followers. We need to capitalise on this and take advantage of the extra publicity he brings to us. Open up more stores around the globe and use him as the poster boy.

I'm eagerly awaiting the postman for my newly ordered Colombia top.


David Currie
30 Posted 07/09/2020 at 01:14:03
Benn @29,

The Colombian women are hot, they will look even hotter walking round with the blue Everton top on if James signs.

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