The exclusive partnership runs for three years. New players such as Facebook and Amazon are currently working on exciting sports rights deals. Facebook has secured MLS and MLB games, while Amazon mainly relies on NFL Thursday Night Football for Prime Video. In Western countries, both players are highly relevant, but see little action in the Chinese market. But in China, the issue of sports rights is an acute issue for new TV players.
Chinese NFL fans are now able to stream live a variety of games thanks to Tencent. This includes the Super Bowl, Playoffs, Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football.
Also, the services QQ and WeChat are available for this. WeChat is Tencent’s Instant Messaging app, with 960 million active users per month. These are just some platforms that non-Chinese players need to know about before they enter the market.
Tencent follows Sina Weibo
Last season, the NFL became the first sports league to offer a live stream of their games in China. The NFL partner: Sina Weibo. The platform attracts around 300 million monthly active users. Their market penetration is similar to that of Twitter and YouTube in the US. Every day, an average of 100 million messages are posted on Sina Weibo.
Sina Weibo shows the Super Bowl, three playoff games, and seven regular season games. For the next three seasons, Tencent is an official streaming partner. An NFL spokesman told Patriots.com: “We will continue to work with Weibo to broadcast highlight clips as well as live.”
The partnership also includes material and rights for the NFL Draft, NFL Combine and NFL Game Day. Also in the package: NFL Hard Knocks and A Football Life. For live games, the transmissions are free.
“We are looking forward to the future of the NFL in China and are proud of our partnership with Tencent,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are confident that this agreement will enable many Chinese fans to experience a better experience and new interaction with the NFL.”
Tencent Vice President Caitlyn Chen: “We believe that our capabilities in the production, content distribution and fan involvement of the NFL will help expand their audiences and increase the popularity of American football in China.”