Premier League on the verge of another huge TV rights deal in China
The richest league in the world is set to get even richer09:00 Friday 18 November 2016, 9:00 18 Nov 2016
The Premier League has secured yet another huge TV rights deal in China, which could be worth up to $700 million.
PPTV, a streaming service in China, looks set to become the biggest rights deal for the Premier League overseas, while domestically they are also making a huge sum of money thanks to the deal they signed with BT Sport and Sky for broadcast rights between 2016 and 2019.
The service is owned by the Suning Group, which recently bought a controlling stake in Serie A side Internazionale in Milan.
Although the news has yet to be confirmed by the Premier League, the BBC report that a source has confirmed the deal was in place, in a move that could be worth ten times their current Chinese TV rights deal.
Football in China has seen a major boost in recent years, both in terms of the domestic game and now, spending on broadcast rights for overseas leagues. A number of players and managers have joined the game there in order to boost its profile, and while President Xi Jinping has often been cited as backing the project, there are a number of reasons why the country has turned to the sport.
Speaking to Newstalk, player agent Chris Atkins said that the move was part of a push to help the country's reputation both at home and abroad.
"The government in China really wants to invest in the entertainment industry," Atkins explains. "It's been primarily a manufacturing based economy for a long time, but China has now developed this big middle class [...] with lots of disposable income, so to diversify the economy they're investing in entertainment, and sport is a big feature of that.
"It makes clever economic sense to branch out into sports, and football has the best global appeal - every country in the world has a big interest in football," Atkins continued. "And if China can develop its own league and host the World Cup, which is a stated ambition of the president, then there will be a lot of eyes on China's development".
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