The deal is styled as a strategic alliance between the two companies and gives them room to develop joint projects in the future.
LeTv Sports plans to broadcast some 1,800 hours of live soccer per season on its digital platform. Rights covered by the deal include Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1, England’s FA Cup, Sky Bet Football League Championship, Capital One Cup, Scottish Professional Football League, Belgian Jupiler Pro League, the Brazil National Team Global Tour matches, the England national team and under-23 home friendly matches, and the (recently completed) Copa America 2015.
“Letv Sports is always looking to establish itself as a leader in this industry and invest in the world’s most compelling sports media rights,” said Lei Zhenjian, CEO of Letv Sports.
LeTV Sports is a spin off from online video firm LeShi Internet Information. It handles broadcast and media rights to 120 events in 12 sports categories and has 4,000 matches for live broadcast. The company is also involved in program production.
The company received financial backing from Wanda Investment and Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s personal investment pool Yunfeng Fund in May. Other second round investors included Fortune Link, Prometheus Capital. Between them they put up $128 million, giving the venture an implied valuation of $451 million. The new investments meant that Leshi drops to 10% ownership.
Letv Sports has media rights for golf’s U.S. Open, cycling’s Tour de France, and three years of tennis’ Wimbledon Championships. It also covers the Boston and New York Marathons, and China’s Shenzhen International Marathon.