January 12 – A Chinese broadcaster has been ordered to pay the English Premier League $213 million by the High Court in London over the collapse of one of the league’s most lucrative international rights agreements.
The Premier League terminated their $650 million deal with PPLive in September 2020 after the broadcaster, part of the retail group Suning that also owns Serie A club Inter Milan, defaulted on payments due in March and June that year.
The broadcaster had cited the catastrophic effects of the pandemic, arguing it caused a pause in fixtures in 2020 – and the lack of fans in stadiums when games resumed.
But given the season concluded eventually, Judge Peter Fraser rejected the arguments made by the streaming service and ruled in the league’s favour.
“In many commercial contracts events may transpire other than as anticipated by one, or even both, contracting parties,” Judge Fraser said. “That does not mean that the court will re-write the parties’ bargain and impose different terms upon them to suit those later events. That is not the function of the law of contract.”
He pointed out in his ruling that the broadcaster had even “failed to pay a substantial amount of outstanding legal fees” owed to its lawyers last year.
In a statement the Premier League said: “The Premier League welcomes the judgment handed down by the High Court on Tuesday relating to non-payment of fees by PPLive, its former broadcast partner in China.”
“The Premier League will robustly enforce its contractual rights when it has no other option available. The League notes the judge’s view that PPLive had ‘no real prospect of success’ defending the claim.”
“The bar is high for a summary judgement application and this decision highlights the strength of the League’s case.”
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