The coronavirus pandemic has seemingly brought about a potentially huge issue for the Premier League, relating to their Chinese broadcast partners, Suning Holdings.
A payment of £160million was due in March but Suning have refused to pay up, it’s believed because of the total shutdown of live matches over a three-month period, although a political angle to the impasse is also being investigated.
In the meantime, the Premier League have reacted by rejecting Suning’s offer for a three-year extension to the current contract, due to run out at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Essentially, the Premier League have accused Suning of breaching the terms of the contract, which allows English top flight games to be shown on their digital channel, PPTV.
It’s a contract that remains the most lucrative in the world outside the UK (Suning agreed to pay £564m for the current 2019-22 cycle), a 12-fold increase on the previous contract with Super Sports Media.
With the Chinese government deciding to cancel international sports events for the rest of the year, the financial situation is only compounded.
At last week’s shareholders’ meeting, the various member clubs did, and are considering a range of options; terminating the deal, demanding an immediate payment or negotiating a revised payment schedule.
Further, the Prime Minister’s decision to block Chinese technology giant Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s new 5G network appears to have been the kicker for why China are still reusing to show any Premier League action.