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China to Enjoy Some EPL for Free

In 2007, the English Premier League sold its China rights exclusively to the pay-TV broadcaster, a decision that analysts believe hampered efforts to grow in the world's most populous country and allowed the NBA to consolidate its lead in the battle for the hearts and wallets of Chinese sports fans.

This year, Chinese television station Guangdong TV, which broadcasts to most of the nation, paid $2.6 million for the right to show one live Premier League game and a highlights package every week on free TV. The Premier League's commercial director Richard Masters said: "We have many pay TV partners in Asia and we have a responsibility to maximize revenue for our clubs so that we can continue to attract the best players in the world. That said, we are obviously happiest when we can match strong revenue with good viewing figures. We want as many people as possible to see Premier League matches.

"The Premier League is considering a strategy for China which has been successful in many regions in Africa whereby at least one... match each week is guaranteed free-to-air coverage."

Asia accounts for more than 40 percent of the League's global audience, as nearly one million fans tune in to the broadcasts.

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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