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Chinese Super League audience on PP Sports up 12 per cent

Average viewership of Chinese Super League matches for domestic rights-holder PP Sports was up 12.1 per cent in the 2019 season, according to a report from the OTT platform.

The average number of viewers per game was 6.66 million. The total number of viewers over the 240 fixtures was 1.6 billion.

PP Sports, a division of Chinese conglomerate Suning, held online streaming rights for the CSL during the 2019 season.

Other findings in the report included:

  • Tianjin Tianhai was the most popular team amongst women in China
  • Dalian Yifang’s support in its home city was the strongest of all CSL clubs, with 23 per cent of the Dalian population counting themselves as fans
  • Shanghai Shenhua’s supporters had the most spending power
  • Despite having no CSL teams, the cities of Hangzhou, Qingdao and Hefei had significant numbers of league viewers

Guangzhou Evergarde won the 2019 CSL title, the team’s eighth title in nine seasons. The club was also the most watched in the league, followed by Beijing Zhonghe Guoan, and then Shandong Luneng Taishan.

Alongside Tencent Sports, PP Sports is the strongest sports streaming platform in China in terms of its content portfolio. It has a strong set of football rights, including the English Premier League, the Uefa Champions League, the German Bundesliga and the Italian Serie A.

PP Sports has admitted it is struggling with the cost of its rights portfolio, and is seeking an investment partner to help it. In the past year, it has laid off a large number of staff and had talks with Alibaba’s streaming platform Youku about a possible merger, although these have broken down at least once and not yet produced a deal.