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Bundesliga kicks in with digital deal

By CHEN XIANGFENG | Updated: 2018-07-11 08:23
China's former Bundesliga player Shao Jiayi during a match against SG Sonnenhof Grobaspach in Germany on June 27, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Bundesliga kicks in with digital deal

China boasts a huge soccer fanbase, backed by a booming market. So when Chinese supporters tune in for more in-depth coverage, the elite European leagues take notice.

PP Sports, China's leader in digital sports media, has added the German Bundesliga to a menu that already included domestic digital broadcast rights for Spain's La Liga and the English Premier League.

PP Sports' parent company, Suning Group, which also owns Serie A giant Inter Milan, has secured exclusive audio-visual rights to the Bundesliga on the Chinese mainland for the next five years, beginning this season.

The deal marks the first time the German league has granted exclusive AV rights to a digital media company in this territory.

"I hope this partnership will boost the exchange of clubs between the two countries at youth level," said former Chinese international midfielder Shao Jiayi, one of the nation's most successful overseas players, who scored 23 goals for 1860 Munich and Energie Cottbus from 2002-2011.

"The youth soccer training system in the German league is among the world's best. I hope more German clubs join China's efforts to improve the talent level here from the grassroots."

The deal means PP Sports owns exclusive Chinese digital media rights to the Bundesliga's broadcast and distribution here, as well as TV rights, including joint rights for creating Bundesliga programs, documentaries and other content in cooperation with CCTV.

With the exclusive copyright, PP Sports' VIP members will also have first access to officially authorized related products.

In the future, the company will link Bundesliga products to Suning's media and retail platforms.

In the new season, PP Sports will organize a wide range of offline activities for fans and provide opportunities to win trips to attend matches.

The Bundesliga is also considering collaborating with Suning in the field of youth training.

"I am very pleased to reach a deep partnership with the Bundesliga. As one of the five major football leagues in Europe, it has a long history and is one of the highest attended in the world," said PP Sports executive vice-president Zeng Gang.

"The Budesliga has a very strong fanbase in China, and we will take full advantage of PP Sports' video and content expertise and the offline advantages of our parent company, Suning Commerce Group, to push the league's development here to new heights."

Robert Klein, CEO of Bundesliga International, believes the partnership will bring the league closer to Chinese fans.

"With a long history of broadcasting of the Bundesliga over 20 years extensively across China, particularly through national television broadcaster CCTV, China has always been one of our biggest fanbases outside of Germany," said Klein.

"The German-Chinese Football Cooperation bears testament to the strong ties between China and Germany and has helped bring two great sporting nations closer together.

"Bundesliga club tours and fan events in the past years have helped us draw closer to our Chinese fans.

"With interest in world-class international football growing rapidly here, we are pleased to have a partnership with PP Sports that will not only further enhance our coverage by reaching and serving Bundesliga fans around the clock, but also help to further grow interest in football in China."

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