China’s iQiyi Sports gets more cash to expand football, tennis and golf video streaming
Company has the broadcast rights in China for English Premier League soccer as well as tennis
Chinese online sports video streaming platform iQiyi Sports has obtained an unspecified amount of funding from a domestic private equity fund as it seeks to increase its presence in the country’s fast-growing sports industry.
China Sports Capital, a fund established in 2017 by Sequoia China and China Media Capital (CMC) – which is headed by media mogul Li Ruigang – took part in the funding round for iQiyi Sports, with the money enabling the firm to provide more content in football, tennis and golf, according to a statement on Tuesday.
The company, a joint venture founded in August by iQiyi, China’s largest video streaming site, and Super Sports Media, currently has broadcasting rights in China for soccer’s English Premier League and UEFA Nations League, as well as the Australian Open, ATP Tour and WTA Tour tennis events.
IQiyi Sports did not return calls seeking to clarify the amount of money involved.
In August it raised 400 million yuan (US$58.5 million) from venture capital firm IDG Capital in exchange for a 13.33 per cent stake, as well as 100 million yuan from private equity firm Huiying Borun for a 3.33 per cent stake.
“We will work closely with China Sports Capital, taking full advantage of their global network and industry resources to create a superior user experience for our fans,” said Yu Lingxiao, chief executive of iQiyi Sports, in the statement.
The firm’s emergence comes as China is determined to build itself into a global sports power with a domestic sports industry valued at 5 trillion yuan (US$730 billion) by 2025.
The industry’s total output reached 1.9 trillion yuan (US$277 billion) in 2016, up 11.1 per cent from the year before, according to official statistics released in January.