CCTV demotes Premier League broadcast amid UK-China tension

China’s diplomatic tension the United Kingdom has affected the Premier League broadcast in the Communist nation.

Chinese State broadcasters, China Central Television (CCTV) has reportedly put off the broadcast of the Premier League from its prime channel. The decision is being seen as an outcome of the deteriorating diplomatic ties between the UK and China.

The Liverpool-Chelsea match on Wednesday was moved from the main sports channel CCTV-5 to CCTV-5+, the digital screen with lesser audience.

The move came following the UK Government’s decision to debar Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s technology in its 5G network and last month in retaliation of a controversial Chinese security law imposed in Hong Kong.

There is no clarity if the CCTV will broadcast the last round games on the CCTV-5. The Leicester City FC-Manchester United tie on Sunday is also listed for CCTV-5+ HD alone.

It is not new for CCTV to demote sports broadcast to express China’s displeasure on certain developments. Last year, CCTV had dropped coverage of National Basketball Association matches after a team official made comments supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

China is a key market for English soccer’s top flight. Many English teams tour the country for pre-season friendlies. Premier League has also hosted the Asia Trophy in Shanghai last year.

Chinese viewership of the Premier League has been growing, with 6% year on year surge registered in the 2018-19 season. China has been the second most valuable overseas media rights marked for the Premier League after sub-Saharan Africa. The league reportedly has a $700 mn digital rights deal with the Chinese streaming giant PPTV.

Admin Sportz Front

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