Chinese streaming platform PPTV have had their media-rights contract terminated with immediate effect by the Premier League due to an unpaid fee of £160 million, and clubs could forfeit even more.
The Premier League has been engulfed in the biggest cash crisis in its history after terminating its broadcasting deal in China in a move that leaves it with a potential £800 million-plus coronavirus bill.
The broadcaster, owned by Suning Holdings, had an agreement with the most watched football league in the world, estimated to be worth around US$233 million (£176 million) per season. Originally a three-year deal, another two seasons were left on the contract, intended to end come the conclusion of the 2021/22 season.
The standoff over the missing payment had been going on for almost seven months and all 20 clubs in the league took at a shareholder meeting this week in order to reach a decision. The other options clubs considered were, an immediate payment, terminating the contract, or negotiating an alternative payment schedule.
In March, PPTV failed to make payment and reports have stated that the broadcaster attempted to negotiate a lower fee. During that time, PPTV wanted to extend their current deal for another three seasons because of the impact covid-19 had on the Premier League and their business.
The 2019/20 season was eforced to stop during the coronavirus lockdown, and the conclusion of the season was completed across six weeks. Broadcasters of the Premier League did try to negotiate reductions in their rights fees because of the schedule changes and the league being unable to meet the existing agreements.
The streaming site are believed to have attempted to renegotiate their deal with other sports because of the impact COVID-19 has had, to mention their deal IMG for Serie A rights for example.
Broadcasting rights have also been held by CCTV, a Chinese state broadcaster, sublicensed by PPTV.
The deal with PPTV was one of the most lucrative deals the Premier League had as it was the second most valuable international media-rights deal for the three-year cycle between 2019 and 2022, with SuperSport being the most valuable, with their broadcasts across the sub-Saharan Africa.
PPTV have been struggling with large payments for sports rights as sporting properties have experienced late payments before the coronavirus pandemic, as a result of the rights fees increasing in recent years with strong competition for the likes of the UEFA Champions League, Serie A and the German Bundesliga.
Suning Holdings mainly operate within retail being one of China’s biggest operators, while owning a 70 per cent stake in Italian giants Inter Milan, through Suning Sports.
Author: James Parker