Premier League mulls options over TV deal in ‘crucial’ Chinese market

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has said the top division of English club football wants to make the “best decision rather than the quickest decision” when securing a new Chinese broadcast rights deal.

The Premier League last week terminated its lucrative media-rights contract with streaming platform PPTV after the Suning Holdings-owned broadcaster failed to meet rights fee payment deadlines.

PPTV’s three-year rights agreement was worth around $233m (£176m/€197m) per season and still had another two seasons to run through to the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

Premier League clubs were said to have considered options including demanding an immediate payment, negotiating a revised payment schedule, or terminating the deal. PPTV failed to make a payment due in March and the broadcaster was reported to have tried to negotiate down the value of the deal.

Masters told BBC Sport: “We hope to resolve the issue as soon as we can.

“I want to make the best decision rather than the quickest decision, we know that there is a lot of demand to see Premier League matches out there, clubs have got millions of supporters who want to see their matches and so we hope to deliver something as soon as we can.

“There are all sorts of things to take into account, reach and value are two of them, but I think really it’s about choosing the right path forward in a very big market, a crucial market to the Premier League.”

Masters added: “It was a very difficult decision. PPTV have been a very good partner for us. We had some contractual dispute with them that we couldn’t resolve so we took the very difficult decision, the commercial decision, to move on and to find a new way of doing things in China.”

The Premier League’s 2019-20 season was suspended between March and June due to the pandemic, and concluded in a six-week blitz of games between June 17 and July 26.

Some Premier League broadcasters have attempted to negotiate reductions in their rights fees due to the schedule changes, as have broadcasters of other sports properties interrupted by Covid-19 around the world.

Following last week’s announcement, The Beijing News reported that PPTV would sue the Premier League after being aggrieved it was unable to renegotiate its contract.

PPTV has also been trying to renegotiate the terms of rights deals for other sports properties in recent months.