Whole new ball game

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Enthusiasm for China’s national football team reached new levels last month when it topped its group in the Asian Cup after three wins from three matches. Although it was knocked out in the quarter finals by the hosts Australia, the team’s performance led to huge viewing figures (around 170 million Chinese watched the games).

That was good news for LeTV Sports, which got the rights to broadcast the matches online, taking on national sports channel CCTV 5 for the first time. Beijing News says LeTV broadcast the matches online in high resolution and benefited from the changing habits of viewers, who are watching more content on their smartphones, tablets or PCs. In LeTV’s case users could also watch on its own brand internet-connected televisions. Beijing News also reports that CCTV’s loss of monopoly coverage meant that the state broadcaster had to raise its own game. It sent a team of 50 to Australia, and in a bid to get an edge even broadcast the Chinese team’s training sessions. But it looks like CCTV will have to get used to more competition from internet players. American basketball league the NBA this month signed a deal with Tencent to allow it to broadcast its matches live online in China.

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