The Japanese love baseball, but the People’s Republic of China has never been known to go in big for foreign sports — or foreign culture in general. But that could change now that Chinese pubcaster CCT has acquired live broadcasting rights to the Italian soccer championship.

RAI foreign sales arm Sacis has sold TV rights to Italian soccer games to more than 70 countries, said Sacis director general Leonardo Breccia, but the sale to China is particularly satisfying.

“It’s not the deal of the century, but it’s a significant step toward a stronger presence in a rapidly developing market,” Breccia said.

Breccia pointed out that Sacis has sold film rights to China in the past, “but not often.”

As of Aug. 29, the Italo soccer championship games air live every Sunday evening at about 9:30 p.m., to an estimated audience of 200 million.

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