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CSM to pursue legal action on sites pirating CSL matches

China Sports Media, the commercial rights-holder of the Chinese Super League, will pursue legal action against popular digital website and streaming app Flying Nimbus, after it allowed users to watch a pirated live broadcast of a match between CSL clubs Beijing Sinobo Guoan and Guangzhou Evergrande.

CSM’s statement, according to Sina.com, said: “CSM has invested much resources to market the CSL, and exclusively authorised PP Sports as our exclusive media partner. They have paid huge sums of money and invested much human and financial resources in their platform, and as key partners of the CSL, both PP Sports and us expect to obtain reasonable returns.

“Recently, a pirate platform named Flying Nimbus openly marketed their broadcast of a match between Beijing Sinobo Guoan and Guangzhou Evergarde, even promoting it with well-known local public figures and key opinion leaders on online social media platforms. This has greatly damaged the reputation of the CSL, as well as the legal rights and financial interests of PP Sports and CSM.

“In order to maintain the business value and intellectual property rights of the CSL, CSM will pursue legal action against all companies and platforms that engage in pirated content, and reiterate that only authorised broadcasting platforms – including PP Sports and CCTV5’s websites and OTT mobile application – are allowed to broadcast CSL matches.”

CSM struck a five-year extension to its CSL deal in 2018. The original five-year contract, spanning 2016 to 2020, was extended to a 10-year deal that will expire in 2025.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua said the agreement would increase CSM’s total fee across the contract from CNY8bn (€1.02bn/$1.25bn) to CNY11bn.

CSM struck the original rights deal in 2015. Its rights fee for the first year of the deal alone was said to be more than 14 times the sum earned in 2015 from deals with state broadcaster CCTV, provincial sports channels and new media companies.