Beijing company wins TV broadcast rights of CSL at record price
Updated: 2015-09-26 17:24
A woman watches video news on a smartphone.[Photo provided to China Daily]
BEIJING - A Beijing-based company has won the television broadcast rights of the Chinese Super League (CSL) in next five years.
Ti'ao Dongli, a Beijing-based company specializing in sports events broadcast, will spend a record 8 billion yuan (about $1.25 billion) for the next five years(2016-2020)' broadcasting rights of the booming league.
The price was much higher than expected, but pundits believed that it's just a beginning as China's sports industry is developing on a fast lane.
"Although the price is higher than we thought in the first place, it showed that CSL has gained recognition and respect from the market," said Huang Yan, general manager of CSL soccer team Liaoning Hongyun.
"I think the value of the league is underestimated in the past few years," said Ma Chengquan, the director of Chinese professional leagues.
"Some might doubt that there's a huge bubble in the price, but given the performances of the CSL teams and the whole league, the price won't be a burden in the future.
"Ti'ao is a longtime partner with Chinese leagues and has majored in broadcasting of the sports events. They are professional and they look at it in a long run. They don't expect to make money in one or two years, they are looking to the next five years," added Ma.
Ma's ideas were echoed by Ti'ao's general manager Zhao Jun.
"I think it's worth it," said Zhao. "it's a long plan. The country is paying much attention to sports industry so the industry is definitely getting better and better. We believe it's profitable in future, especially in the soccer leagues."
The new season of the Super League opened in the wake of an ambitious reform plan approved by the Chinese government to raise the standard of Chinese soccer.
"We must develop and revitalize soccer to ensure we are a strong nation of sports," according to a statement issued after a meeting of the central reform leading group that is chaired by President Xi Jinping.
The current CSL season is the most exciting for years. Off the pitch, clubs have ramped up the spending in a way not seen in East Asia in as many years.
To prepare for the new season, big clubs went on a shopping spree to sign top players, mainly from South America. According to the statistics released by Germany's Transfer Market, when the Chinese winter transfer window closed, the Super League spent a record 108 million euros to buy players and coaches on the 2014-2015 transfer market.
The Chinese league, which turned professional only 20 years ago, stands only second to the English Premier League in terms of the money spent on transfers, beating most of the top-flight leagues around the world.
"The clubs will gain more than before but I think it's also their responsibility to put more in junior soccer and grassroots soccer in China," added Ma.