The Premier League has taken immediate action against PPTV and has cancelled the remaining two years of the broadcasting deal between the two parties. The company is owned by Suning Holdings Group.  

The 3-season cycle deal which was supposed to run from 2019/20 through 2021/22, was announced with great enthusiasm and large Chinese fanfare in the first season of the previous 3-year cycle – this sort of deal was highly unusual in the Chinese broadcasting sphere. The deal warranted for PPTV to pay the Premier League $750 million with an upfront payment of $350 million.

The payment of $210 million became due this year but no money was forthcoming, hence the Premier League’s decision to terminate the contract. In recent years, the football teams in the Chinese Super League have been called out for owing players like Odion Ighalo, Hulk, Ramires and a number of other high-profile signings. 

The Premier League’s TV deals in two of the world’s biggest markets, China and the United States have helped steer rights overseas for up to $5.6 billion for three seasons. The deal has also helped drive compensation for softening of the domestic market. The overseas market has become increasingly important to the Premier League in the last decade. 

The end of this partnership comes at a time when the Premier League and the sporting world are facing the loss of ticket money and the ancillary spending that spectators contribute to at games. For the next two seasons, a loss of $200 million will be incurred, an average of $10 million per team.

The Premier League could have acted fast by selling the rights to a competitor in the region when they terminated the deal with PPTV but Chinese politics always take a toll on foreign business outfits. For instance, the British government blocked Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from building a 5G network. 

Suning Sports also owns three football clubs: Jiangsu Suning Football Club, Jiangsu Suning Ladies Football Club and Inter Milan F.C. of Serie A.

This article was written by Alex Ndace; he tweets via @AlexNdace

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