European Tour lands Sina Sports partnership

Golf’s European Tour has signed a three-year partnership with Chinese internet company Sina Sports.

The deal grants Sina Sports exclusive digital broadcast rights to all European Tour events until the end of the 2021 season.

Sina Sports will live stream all European Tour tournaments, while its newly-created in-house digital media agency will manage the Tour’s official social media assets in China, including its Weibo and WeChat accounts, for the duration of the deal.

Sina Sports initially began exclusive live broadcasts of the European Tour in early November, with the Turkish Airlines Open reaching 210,000 views on Sina Golf’s Weibo account alone.

At the event, Li Haotong, the first Chinese golfer to make the top 50 world ranking, came close to winning his third European Tour title, finishing in second place behind world number one Justin Rose.

Li, along with three-time European Tour winner Wu Ashun, are part of a wave of Chinese golfers establishing themselves on the global stage, with the European Tour stating this was a factor in the partnership with Sina Sports.

Sina Corporation senior vice-president and Sina Sports general manager, Arthur Wei, said: “With the growing presence of Chinese golfers and optimal viewing time, the European Tour is positioned to become a very popular sports property for Chinese fans and we are excited to partner with the European Tour for the next three-plus years.

“The possibility of large numbers of fans in China rooting for Chinese players regularly competing for titles at convenient viewing times is intriguing.”