Suning-owned PP Sports has experienced a meteoric rise in traffic over the coronavirus period, during which the content on the platform is free of charge. The surge has also largely resulted from extension of the Lunar New Year holiday period in China that suspends regular business until February 10, allowing people more free time to explore content.
PP Sports partnered with the English Premier League for streaming rights in China, and the recent viewership spikes are largely from England’s top football division, with a match between top four contenders Chelsea and Leicester City drawing 12.32 million viewers.
The largest growth in audience occurred in Henan and Zhejiang Provinces, up 245% and 227%, respectively. Despite the Asia-based football competitions like the CSL and AFC Champions League being postponed, PP Sports traffic was carried by the extensive partnerships with more of Europe’s top leagues including Spain’s La Liga, Italian Serie A, the German Bundesliga and the UEFA Champions League.
Suning’s presence in European football has been augmented by the success of their partnership with Inter Milan, headed by Steven Zhang, chairman of Inter Milan and son of Suning founder Zhang Jindong. Inter are competing for the title this year and have been noticeably active in the recent winter transfer window, acquiring players including Christian Eriksen, Victor Moses and Ashley Young.
Meanwhile, PP Sports, aiming to make the most of the unique circumstances of the coronavirus emergency protocols, started streaming online fitness programs for those stuck at home.