Chinese online sports video streaming platform iQiyi Sports, which has the broadcast rights in China for English Premier League soccer and international tennis has obtained new 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. According to a statement from the company, the new funding will enable the firm to provide more content in football, tennis and golf.
IQiyi Sports is a joint venture founded in August by iQiyi, China’s largest video streaming site, and Super Sports Media. The company has broadcast 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.
In August it raised $58.5 million USD (400 million CNY) from venture capital firm IDG Capital in exchange for a 13.33% stake, as well as $14.6 million USD (100 million CNY) from private equity firm Huiying Borun for a 3.33% stake.
Yu Lingxiao, chief executive of iQiyi Sports, issued a statement on the funding and said: “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.”
The firm’s emergence comes as China makes an effort to build itself into a global sports power. Industry projections are that the domestic sports industry will be valued at $730 billion USD (5 trillion CNY) by 2025. According to official statistics, the industry’s total output in 2016 reached $277 billion USD (1.9 trillion yuan) an increase up 11.1 per from the year before.