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Champions League lands streaming rights deal with PP Sports, Tencent, iQiyi in China

With this deal, iQiyi adds another feather to its soccer offering in China.

PP Sports, Tencent, and iQiyi Sports have secured non-exclusive digital streaming rights deals for the UEFA Champions League in China.

The agreements between the European soccer’s governing body and the three streaming giants cover the 2021/22 season. The trio will also get access to the other UEFA club competitions, including the Europa League and the Super Cup which was recently won by Chelsea.

The Chinese streaming platforms did not mention in their respective announcements if they would be showing the newly-introduced third-tier UEFA Europa Conference League or not.

The deal would be very fruitful for PP Sports, having recently lost rights contracts with a string of rights holders as Covid-19 hit its finances. In the last few years, they had to face a lot of consequences, including the termination of their deal with the English Premier League, cutting short the UK£523 million (US$724 million) contract two years early. Reports had suggested that PP Sports was unable to pay UK£160 million (US$222 million) instalment for the 2019/20 season which led to the contract’s termination. Both the parties took the dispute to the court to settle their claims.

With this deal, iQiyi adds another feather to its soccer offering in China. Last month, the platform had also landed a deal with the Premier League to become the competition’s exclusive digital broadcast partner in China until the end of the 2024/25 season. The contract covers rights to all matches, with ad-free games and in multiple languages to the subscribers.

Tencent’s coverage of the UEFA club competitions will be available across the company’s various platforms, including Tencent Sports, WeChat, and Aurora TV. The company continues to evolve its offering in the country.

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