China Mobile Migu, a Chinese mobile telco, and streaming platform has acquired rights to the English Premier League from iQiyi Sports, the market’s gatekeeper rights holder.
As well as live coverage of matches, Migu will also feature a variety of supporting content, such as match previews and analyses. On content and marketing projects, the company said it will work with the Premier League.
The English top-flight’s season of 2021-22 kicked off this weekend for Migu. It will run until the end of the 2024-25 season.
China’s Premier League’s exclusive streaming rights were acquired by iQiyi Sports last week for the next four seasons.
As a policy, the Premier League sells its rights every three seasons. Chinese football has been disrupted by the league’s decision to terminate its rights deal with PP Sports after the first season. The current cycle runs from 2019-20 to 2021-22. Unfortunately, the streaming service has run into financial difficulties and hasn’t been able to make payments on its rights fees. For the 2020-21 season, the Premier League and Tencent’s streaming platform have agreed to a one-season deal.
Xin’ai Sports, the parent company of iQiyi Sports, sublicensed Migu’s rights, according to Chinese media reports at the time.
For the 2021-22 season, streaming rights deals for Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1 have yet to be announced. In France, the season began more than a week ago, and in Italy, it will begin this coming weekend. Both properties were previously owned by PP Sports.
The transfer of Lionel Messi to Paris St-Germain has boosted the appeal of the French league’s rights. Even so, the league’s income may not be enough. Because of PP Sports’ overspending, football rights holders have seen their rights fees plummet in China this year, resulting in significant cuts to their rights fees.
The European football properties are also expected to announce linear television rights deals for the upcoming season. Right-holders have traditionally worked with state broadcaster CCTV and, in some cases, other major regional broadcasters.