Manchester United football club has signed a major deal with Chinese online sports platform Sina Sports for it to broadcast the team’s 24/7 TV channel MUTV across its digital platforms.
International support is a key growth area for Premiership football teams and China is a key market for Manchester United in particular. The team is one of the most followed football teams on Sina Weibo, a social network that is part of the same business as Sina Sport.
Arthur Wei, Sina senior vice president and GM of Sina Sports, said: “This partnership is a great example of the vision we have to provide Chinese fans with more and more diversified, deeper sports content. Manchester United has deservedly won over 100 million fans in China and we are excited to see how the Club will grow its following through this historic launch. We anticipate this will make great strides to change the way China watches and understands the game of football.”
According to an analysis by the Guardian in July last year, Manchester United had 13 million followers on Sina Weibo, compared to the second most followed, its local rival Manchester City, which has 9.6 million.
Sina Sports will make MUTV programming, which includes highlights of all Manchester United Premier League and UEFA matches and extra content such as interviews, available across its digital platforms, which includes its website, mobile site and mobile app.
Manchester United group managing director, Richard Arnold, commented: “This is an important and exciting partnership, not only for Manchester United but also for our Chinese fans. The Club works tirelessly on new and innovate ways in which we can engage with our fans and this is a classic example of how our commercial partnerships allow us to do this.”