Le Sports Launches Subscription Streaming to Chinese Sports Fans

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LeEco, a Chinese internet giant, has launched a pay-to-view service to attract Chinese sports fans.  The “Le Sports Subscription Model”  will be an independent service within LeCo’s film and TV content on LeTV.

As part of the new sports service, LeEco has announced they will spend RMB 6 billion to acquire rights to gain broadcast rights for more sports events, to add to the platform.

For a RMB 590 (about 90 USD) yearly, and RMB 59 monthly subscription, users can gain access to live broadcasting of leading sports events, as well as access to professional commentary (in China, that is a big plus),  ticketing discounts and access to sports travel packages.

LeEco will provide access to the content via the various popular platforms they own, including LeTV, Le Mobile Phone, LeVR and Le Supercar.   They will be added new content to sign sports-lovers up, including an increasing number of soccer games from China’s Super League (CSL) – a league that continues to sign big-name players from around the world.  By 2018, Le Sports will broadcast all CSL games.

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Le Sports coverage of the CSL, featuring Brazilian players Jo and Ramires

Why is Le Sport’s Subscription Channel So Important for Brands In China?

Such a massive investment in sports subscriptions for Chinese netizens, is a big game changer.  Increasingly CCTV and other traditional broadcasters have ‘dropped the ball’ in terms of keeping up with the demands of local sports fans.

The success of the platform will create a closer sense of ‘fan communities’ in China, something akin to the effect of Premier League Soccer in South-east Asia.   Fandom is intense in China – especially for NBA, and certain football teams.  Le Sports access will create more regular and sharable sports culture in China – where die-hard fans can you the content to introduce and amplify fandom amongst their peer group.

This is important for leagues (Premier League, NBA, CSL, NFL, F1 etc), but also for team franchises (Manchester United, The Bulls, Shanghai Shenhua,  the Patriots and Ferrari) as they look to increase their footprint in China.

But the biggest benefactors will be brands such as Under Armour and Nike, who have huge equity in terms of sports stars largely unknown in China – particularly athletes of the NFL Football and MLB Baseball.  The ability to leverage these stars is a huge opportunity for both brands.  Le Sports will bring that relevance directly to local sports enthusiasts’ phones and mobile devices.

At SMART, we have been lucky enough to conduct ethnographic work on “Chinese Sports Fans” – what we have found is, they are potentially, the most fervent and detail-orientated in the world.  That is, their conversations about sports are from the point-of-view of expertise, and they idea that it is a culture that informs them, and they want to share with friends.

Sports fandom will be a new opportunity in China, and we would love to help you leverage it for your brand.

About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

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