UEFA clinches 2008 new media deal in China

2007-12-11 20:08:16 AFP

UEFA President Michel Platini (L) and SINA CEO and President Charles Chao lift the UEFA Cup after a signing ceremony in Beijing, Dec 11, 2007. (SINA Photo)

BEIJING, Dec 11, 2007 (AFP) - European football's governing body UEFA signed a deal here Tuesday with leading web portal Sina.com offering all 31 European Championship matches next year live to China's online consumers free of charge.

UEFA President Michel Platini travelled to Beijing to seal the agreement whereby Sina will become the exclusive new media broadcaster for the tournament, airing all the Euro 2008 games on the Internet and offering highlights to mobile phone users.

"China is the biggest audience in the world for football... Thanks to Sina the Chinese are going to see the entire European tournament live on the Internet and through their mobile phones," said the former French football captain.

No details concerning the contract, including the financial aspects, were released by the two companies.

China's state broadcaster CCTV has already been chosen as China's exclusive TV broadcaster of the event but lost out to Sina in the bid for the new media rights, a UEFA official told AFP.

It is the first time that all European championship matches will be broadcast live over the Internet in China.

The official said that only one match was aired live online during the 2004 event.

In a company statement, Sina said that championship matches would be broadcast free of charge. The company already airs live English Premiership, Italian Serie A and Champions League games.