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WWE agrees rights deal in China with iQiyi Sports

Wrestling entertainment promoter WWE has agreed a media-rights deal in China with video-streaming platform iQiyi Sports beginning September 22.

iQiyi Sports will show WWE’s flagship weekly programmes Raw and SmackDown, as well as WWE’s monthly pay-per-view events including Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and the Survivor Series. Classic match content will also be available.

Coverage will be available in HD, and with both Chinese and English commentary. WWE content will be accessible to users who have the regular iQiyi Sports subscription or the iQiyi Sports boxing membership.

WWE currently has another media-rights deal in China, with streaming platform PPTV. It is understood that this deal was recently renegotiated between the two parties – it is one of a series of media-rights deals that have been renegotiated in China in recent weeks as streaming platforms grapple with the costs of their content acquisitions amid the financial squeeze caused by the pandemic.

Commenting on the new iQiyi Sports agreement, the platforms chief executive Lingxiao Yu said: “WWE is loved by many fans around the world and has a huge fan base in China, I have full confidence in this partnership.”

Jay Li, WWE vice president and general manager, Greater China, said, “We are thrilled to begin an exciting new chapter for WWE in the region as we bring our unique blend of action-packed, family-friendly sports entertainment to iQIYI Sport’s impressive portfolio of premium sports content.”

iQiyi Sports is a joint-venture between video streaming giant iQiyi and Super Sports Media, the sports marketing agency owned by sports and entertainment group Wuhan DDMC Culture and Sports.