LaLiga, the top Spanish soccer league, has announced its new LaLiga Plus streaming service in China will cease broadcasts of live matches “due to problems unrelated to the competition.”

The platform was launched ahead of the start of the season last August under a strategic long-term partnership with Beijing-based Streamline Media Technology.

LaLiga Plus has been home to both the top-flight LaLiga and second-tier Segunda Division this year and was due to broadcast all matches from Spain’s top two divisions.

Subscribers to the service had been promised access to all 380 games from the top flight and for the first time in the country, all 462 matches and promotion play-offs of the Segunda Division.

In a statement issued today (February 17), LaLiga said it will “continue to work to offer fans in China differentiating experiences in a strategic market for the growth of the competition.”

The league also added that all matches will continue to be available on Migu Sports, the streaming platform of state-owned China Mobile Communications.

In August, Migu agreed a three-year deal to show all 380 matches per season until the end of the 2024-25 campaign.

The closure of the LaLiga Plus platform is the latest issue the Spanish top-flight has encountered in China.

The league made the move to create a dedicated streaming service in the territory after terminating its long-term digital rights agreement 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 initiated legal action against the company in both China and Spain after terminating the deal.

With the launch of LaLiga Plus, the competition claimed to be the first among the major leagues to have a DTC solution in China.

Described as a direct-to-consumer (DTC) exclusive brand-dedicated application solution, the platform offered different packages to fans through a freemium model combining free and paid matches.

Meanwhile, LaLiga has today also announced a partnership with Netflix to develop the streaming giant’s first documentary series in Spain.

The docuseries, currently in pre-production, will focus on the 2023-24 LaLiga season and will be launched worldwide on the platform next year. 

Similar to Netflix’s growing slate of sports programming such as the popular Formula 1: Drive to Survive series, the LaLiga offering will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the league.

Following the success of its F1 series, Netflix has also recently released tennis docuseries Break Point in partnership with the ATP and WTA Tours, and golf edition Full Swing under a tie-up with the PGA Tour.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is due to release its fifth season in the first half of this year.

Óscar Mayo, executive director of LaLiga, said: "For LaLiga, to be the star of Netflix's first sports series in Spain is a unique opportunity to take our football beyond the fans, to share with the world the excitement of the sport we love, and the chance for all our fans to see LaLiga from a totally different angle."

Álvaro Díaz, Netflix director of unscripted and documentary series (Spain), added: "At Netflix, we have always been committed to bringing must-watch series and films to our members around the world.

“We are very proud and excited to share this project with LaLiga, which is an unprecedented opportunity to experience the excitement of one of the most exciting sporting competitions on the planet, first-hand.”

Image: Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images