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Premier League turns to streaming matches on Tencent in China after losing free-to-air rights

Premier League clubs will also be able to share short clips during matches to engage directly with their supporters in China.

The Premier League will now stream its matches on Tencent’s platforms for the remainder of the 2020/21 season after its TV rights contract in China was terminated two years early.

Supporters of the league in China will be able to watch all 372 remaining Premier League matches live and follow the latest updates and news about their favourite clubs and players from 19 September.

The matches will be streamed on Tencent’s digital platforms, including WeChat, QQ.com, Tencent Video, Penguin Live App, Tencent News App, Tencent Sports App and Kan Dian.

Tencent will make more than half of all matches available for free to Premier League fans in China, with the remaining fixtures available on Tencent Sports' membership service.

The Premier League will also launch an official Penguin channel across Tencent's content platforms, where fans can access a daily videos and features about the Premier League competition, its clubs and players.

Premier League clubs will also be able to share short clips during matches to engage directly with their supporters in China and enhance the Tencent partnership.

Tencent Sports General Manager Ewell Zhao said: “The Premier League is one of the world‘s most popular sports competitions and has many fans in China.

“In collaboration with the Premier League, Tencent Sports hopes to leverage its platforms and technology to bring the drama of Premier League matches to fans and share with them the passion and excitement of football.“

Why did Premier League turn to Tencent?

• Digital broadcaster PPTV, a division of the Chinese conglomerate Suning Holdings, owed unpaid money to Premier League under the contract signed by the two parties after the Chinese company had withheld a £160m instalment that was due in March.

• PP Sports had committed in November 2016 to pay £564m for the live rights from 2019-22, to be shown in a mix of free-to-air and subscription packages. It was the richest overseas TV deal the Premier League had signed at that time.

• In a statement, the league said: “The Premier League confirms that it has today terminated its agreements for Premier League coverage in China with its licensee in that territory.”

• The Premier League said it will continue to explore opportunities for free-to-air broadcast coverage in China for the 2020/21 season after the Tencent deal.

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