Streaming platform PPTV, owned by Chinese Conglomerate Suning Holdings Group, has been ordered to pay the Premier League £157m following a UK High Court hearing into the collapse of a media-rights deal between the two parties.
PPTV defaulted on payments to the Premier League in March and June 2020. The league curtailed the exclusive live deal in China in September 2020, just one year into the three-year agreement.
Justice Fraser, who made the ruling yesterday (11th January) after the hearing took place in November, ordered PPTV to pay the instalments plus interest and costs.
He ruled that the league was entitled to a summary judgement without a trial – effectively when the defendant has no realistic chance of winning the case – and said that “none of the defences advanced” amounted to more than “fanciful prospects of success”.
Following the collapse of the PPTV deal, internet operator Tencent picked up the available rights in a one-year deal covering the 2020-21 season before streaming provider iQiyi Sports sealed a rights deal covering the 2021-22 to 2024-25 seasons. The rights covering the new four-year cycle have been sublicensed to China Mobile on a non-exclusive basis.
“The Premier League welcomes the judgment handed down by the High Court today relating to non-payment of fees by PPLive, its former broadcast partner in China,” the league stated.
“The Premier League will robustly enforce its contractual rights when it has no other option available. The League notes the judge’s view that PPLive had ‘no real prospect of success’ defending the claim. The bar is high for a summary judgment application and this decision highlights the strength of the League’s case.
“The League will now begin the process of recovering the fees and costs owed by PPLive.”
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