Suning promises increased investment in sport as it launches Premier League partnership

PP Sports, a division of Suning, launched its three-year broadcasting partnership with the English Premier League at an event in Shanghai last weekend. Suning, one of the largest retailers in China, has promised more investment in the sports industry as part of its commercial strategy.

In 2016, Chinese digital sports media company PP Sports obtained the exclusive broadcasting rights for the Premier League in China and Macau in a three-year deal, starting from 2019-20.

Sun Weimin, the chief executive of Suning, said the company will continue to increase its investment in sports coverage, using live broadcasts, images and articles, short-form videos, fan zones and offline events to provide Premier League subscribers with richer experiences and content.

He told China Business News the strategy is to increase the number of PP Sports’ paid subscriptions, and connecting them to Suning’s sales platforms: “PP Sports can become the vehicle and medium to connect resources, commercialisation and football together in one ecosystem. Commerce and football, this is Suning’s real area of expertise.”

PP Sports claims to have more than six million paying subscribers.

PP Sports will develop offline projects to connect fans with live matches, including 20 “Premier League Nights” events at Suning-owned locations such as Suning Plaza, Suning studios, and Suning stores in China.

The Premier League Nights will create more opportunities for sales conversions for Suning’s stores, according to Dang Yi, the vice-president of Suning Sports Group’s Product Centre: “We have seen the value of high-viscosity relationships between viewers of sports content in the retail market, and aim to build a comprehensive link to consumers through sports events.”

Suning’s other sports investments include a majority stake in Italian Serie A side Inter Milan, and ownership of Chinese Super League (CSL) club Jiangsu Suning. It owns the media rights for the CSL, the Asian Champions League, the Spanish La Liga, Serie A, the German Bundesliga, and the Uefa Champions League.