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CCTV’s Premier League broadcasts ‘demoted’ amid diplomatic tension

Premier League CEO Richard Masters in Shanghai at time of 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images for Premier League)

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has switched its coverage of English Premier League football matches to its less popular CCTV5 Plus sports channel in a move analysts are linking to diplomatic tensions between China and the UK.

CCTV has rights to show live coverage of Premier League matches during the current media rights cycle, 2019-20 to 2021-22, sublicensed from streaming platform PP Sports, the league's main broadcast rights-holder in the market. CCTV has been showing two live matches per round on CCTV5, its free-to-air sports television channel, and streaming two further live matches via its CCTV5 app.

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