LaLiga, the top Spanish soccer league, has announced a strategic long-term partnership with Beijing-based Streamline Media Technology to launch a new streaming platform in China.
The LaLiga Plus live streaming application will be home to both the top-flight LaLiga and second-tier Segunda Division from the beginning of the upcoming 2022-23 season on August 12.
Described as a direct-to-consumer (DTC) exclusive brand dedicated application solution, the platform will offer different packages to fans through a freemium model combining free and paid matches.
Viewers will have access to all 380 LaLiga matches and for the first time in China, all 462 matches and promotion play-offs of the Segunda Division will also be available to viewers in the country.
Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga, said: "Brand dedicated application is the future of sports broadcasting. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the world of sport. This is a strategic agreement and a firm commitment to innovation in a country as important to us as China."
LaLiga made the move to create a dedicated streaming service in China after recently terminating its long-term digital rights agreement in the country with sports marketing firm Super Sports Media (SSM) due to missed payments.
The deal between the two parties began with the 2019-20 season and was initially due to run until 2024-25 but was renegotiated in 2020 to extend to 2028-29.
It represented one of LaLiga’s most lucrative international broadcast agreements and the league confirmed that it has initiated legal action against the company in both China and Spain after terminating the deal.
With the launch of LaLiga Plus, the Spanish top-flight claims to be the first among the major leagues to have a DTC solution in China.
The league said the partnership with Streamline enables it to “connect with Chinese fans through a deeper and more profound relationship”.
LaLiga and Streamline will work closely on delivering a more “immersive LaLiga game viewing experience” to all Chinese fan by integrating sport, technology, and IP derivatives.
Marco Weber, chairman, chief executive and founder of Streamline, said: "LaLiga shares our vision of how we believe sports will be brought to audiences in the future.
“LaLiga Plus will be a significant game changer in the sports entertainment industry and I am optimistic we will soon be able to announce partnerships with other major sports brands and IPs.”
Sergi Torrents, LaLiga’s managing director in China, added: "LaLiga Plus is the core of our strategy in China for the next years. This is the first step of a complete ecosystem we are building to provide new and unique experiences and new products to fans.
“Together with Streamline, we are investing in technology, fan experience, and increasing value for our brand and business."
Yesterday (August 2), LaLiga announced that video game developer Electronic Arts (EA) would be its title sponsor in a multi-year deal from 2023-24.