Saturday, August 11, 2007

No EPL broadcast deal yet signed for Shanghai

With just a day to go before the new English Premier League season kicks off no television broadcasting deals are yet in place in China's biggest city, Shanghao. Wintv Digital TV Development Ltd, which holds the Premier League rights in China for the next three seasons, has yet to agree on cooperation terms with the Oriental Cable Network Co. Ltd, the city's main cable TV service provider. In February this year, Wintv outbid ESPN and five other rivals with a US$50 million offer to clinch the rights to broadcast in China from 2007 to 2010. For the last five years, ESPN had the Premier League rights for Asia and then entered into separate deals with various Free-to-Air domestic channels. In Shanghai, fans were able to watch EPL games on CCTV-5 and G-Sports at no cost.

According to Wintv, fans now must subscribe with their local cable TV operators watch the games. The monthly charges are 188 yuan (US$25) or 388 yuan for six months or 588 yuan for a year. On Wednesday, Beijing Huage Cable TV sealed a deal with Wintv, thus becoming the 58th city to televise the games in China. Guangzhou, Dalian, Qingdao, Tianjin, Kunming, Nanjing, Hangzhou are among the other cities to reach similar deals.

The matches will be however available on the Internet on Sina.com or TV.QQ.com, or on the cellphones from 3G.net.cn. Chinese fans can avail of the sina.com package for 380 yuan for a year or 38 yuan per month or 3.8 yuan per match. TV.QQ.com charges 28 yuan for a month's service or 280 yuan for a year. 3G.net.cn service for cellphones is available at 50 yuan for 2 months, 150 yuan for 7 months or 200 yuan for a year but is limited to Mandarin or Cantonese commentary only.

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