Caroline Mwangi in Beijing @Carolinebobo
Kenyans are now set to join the rest of the world in enjoying Chinese Super League (CSL) matches, after Chinese media giant StarTimes Media signed a deal with Chinese Sports Media, CSM and global sports and fashion content gurus IMG South Africa.
The deal signed yesterday in Beijing, China, will see CSL matches broadcast to all corners of the continent, including on free-to-air channels. “For decades, certain audiences have been excluded from viewing premium content, a phenomenon that we are vehemently opposed to.
These matches will be open to all of our viewers,” said StarTimes Vice-President Michael Dearham during the ceremony which was held on the sidelines of the Sixth African Digital TV Development Seminar in the Chinese capital.
Dearham says that the move is aimed at bringing the people of Africa and China closer together, while breaking long-held sports stereotypes about the East Asian nation. “There’s more to Chinese sports than Olympics, Kung fu and table tennis.
The Chinese league is as competitive as the rest in the world.” The 16-club league has been gaining prominence in recent years with world-renowned players like Ramires (former Chelsea), Jackson Martinez (former Atletico); Africans Gervinho and Asamoah Gyan joining various teams, as well as managers Sven-Goran Eriksson and Luiz Felipe Scolari.
The league which is also broadcast in Europe and Latin America, will be aired on all StarTimes sports channels including two which are in HD. Apart from soccer, content from other sports such as basketball, netball and wrestling will also be available for viewers. The move comes only a year after StarTimes signed a five-year coverage deal for the German league, Bundesliga.