Caixin
BUSINESS & TECH

Missed Goals Mar Online Sports Broadcaster’s Track Record

By Liao Yuanxin, Teng Jing Xuan and Sun Baishan
LeSports acquired two years’ worth of rights to online broadcasting of Chinese Super League soccer matches for 2.7 billion yuan in February 2016, but sold the rights 13 months later as the financial woes of corporate parent LeEco took their toll on the online sports broadcaster. Above, Chongqing Dangdai Lifan and Shanghai SIPG play to a 1-1 tie in Chinese Super League play in Chongqing, China, on April 30.  Photo: IC
LeSports acquired two years’ worth of rights to online broadcasting of Chinese Super League soccer matches for 2.7 billion yuan in February 2016, but sold the rights 13 months later as the financial woes of corporate parent LeEco took their toll on the online sports broadcaster. Above, Chongqing Dangdai Lifan and Shanghai SIPG play to a 1-1 tie in Chinese Super League play in Chongqing, China, on April 30. Photo: IC

A little more than a year ago, the online sports broadcaster LeSports was busy pursuing a grand vision embodied in a grand marketing slogan: “No Chinese Super League without LeSports.”

LeSports, a subsidiary of the Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco, appeared well on its way to becoming one of the country’s dominant broadcasters of major sporting events.

LeSports had spent the previous two years buying broadcasting rights for a smorgasbord of 310 domestic and international sporting events, including European soccer matches and North American basketball games, in hopes China’s hundreds of millions of armchair athletics fans would “turn to LeSports whenever they wanted to watch any sports,” a former company employee told Caixin.

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