NFL becomes first sport league to strike live stream deal with China’s Sina Weibo

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The National Football League (NFL) has struck a deal with social media platform Sina Weibo to live stream key games including the Super Bowl for the first time on the Chinese social network.

The service has already streamed six regular games from the NFL in recent weeks. The new deal will give users of the social network – which in November peaked at nearly 300 million monthly active users – access to live streams of the final Sunday Night Football game in Week 17, three playoff games and the Super Bowl.

The agreement also gives Sina Weibo rights to show out-of-game on-demand clips, highlight videos and other NFL footage such as the top ten performances of the week.

The NFL is hoping to extend its digital presence in China through the deal, claiming to reach over 1.5 million online viewers in China each week. It follows on from a similar deal with microblogging site Twitter to stream Thursday night NFL games to its over 300 million global monthly active users, announced in April of this year.

Zhang Zhe, head of Sina Weibo Sports, said: “We look forward to helping the NFL grow their Chinese market and explore more commercial opportunities, while also providing our Weibo users with a better opportunity to watch and quickly share LIVE games and highlights. We strongly believe that social media is a core platform to promote and consume domestic and international sports events. Sports + Social will become a key industry driver.”

Richard Young, managing director of NFL China, added: “Sina Weibo is an excellent partner for the NFL as we engage fans across the Chinese Mainland. We are excited about working with Sina Weibo to stream NFL games to millions of fans. We’re confident this will be a valuable long-term partnership for the NFL and our sponsors in China.”

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