CBA lands wide-ranging China Mobile rights deal

Migu, the video entertainment subsidiary of mobile telcoms operator China Mobile, has signed a wide-ranging agreement with the CBA, the top basketball league in China.

The five-year deal will run from 2020-21 to 2024-25 and includes exclusive IPTV rights, non-exclusive streaming rights and an ‘Official Partner’ sponsorship package.

Migu has also committed to providing services to work with the CBA on the development of 5G network transmission technology.

The total agreement is worth upwards of CNY2bn ($283m/€260.5m), according to China’s Lanxiong Sports, equal to an average of CNY400m per year.

Migu began streaming live and on-demand coverage of the league in 2018-19 after signing a two-season rights deal.

The CBA took its commercial rights sales in-house in 2017 after the end of its exclusive agreement with the Infront agency (which did retain its role selling rights to China’s national basketball teams).

The league, which has been on hold on the court since January because of the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to look for further non-exclusive agreements from 2020-21 onwards. Incumbents Tencent Sports and Youku Sports are the most likely candidates for negotiations.

Migu arrived on the sports scene when it acquired sublicensed streaming rights to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in a deal with state broadcaster CCTV.

Upon its first tie-up with the CBA, which was announced in October 2018, Migu committed to working with the league on streaming matches in ultra high-definition (‘4K’) resolution.

That initial agreement was followed up with a content and sponsorship rights deal with North America’s NBA. Migu secured content rights in China, Hong Kong and Macau and became an Official Partner of the NBA in China.