The Unicorn Company In Chinese Sports Market: Understanding the Model of LETV Sports

 Many would be surprised to witness LETV Sports as the unicorn company, valued at 3 billion USD.

During the past year, the sports industry in China,particularly the sports companies, has been changing

significantly. Many would be surprised to witness LETVSports coming from nowhere to become the unicorn

company, valued at 3 billion USD. But, who is LETV Sports? What is its plan?

LETV Sports was part of LETV Group and runs as an independent sports company since thebeginning of 2014. LETV Group is one of the leading video internet companies in China. The mainbusinesses of LETV include online video providing, filmmaking, consuming electronics, applications,e-commerce and agriculture.

Supported by the strong LETV Group, LETV Sports is the fastest growing sports company in China.LETV Sports is composed of four key sections: content, event management, smart hardware, value addedservice.

In terms of content, LETV Sports holds almost all the important media rights in the market, rangingfrom football, basketball, tennis, badminton, fighting, cycling, marathon to Formula 1 and golf. Inparticular, Chinese fans can get access to all the top class football matches on various LETV Sportsplatforms (PC, Phone, Pad, Smart TV). LETV holds the live streaming rights of UEFA ChampionsLeague, Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Chinese Super League, J-League, K-League,A-League, MLS, Copa America etc. And the recent acquisition of English Premier League mediarights in Hong Kong territory showed LETV’s ambition in the overseas market.

LETV Sports’ various platforms are the best guarantee of its content distribution and penetration:Apart from its official website, its apps on mobile devices, it also has the broadcasting terminals onthe self-produced and self-branded OTT box, the smart Super TV and the smart Super Phone.Regarding event management, LETV Sports is providing comprehensive services, including ticketing,marketing, sponsorship, media rights, hospitality and merchandise.

The operation of InternationalChampionship Cup China epitomizes LETV Sports’ ambition and ability. In July 2015, Real Madrid,AC Milan and Inter Milan played three matches in China, which was organized and operated by LETVSports. Also, LETV Sports is the exclusive operation partner of Chinese Women Super League.Concerning smart hardware, LETV Sports shows its strength as a leading technology company. LETVGroup has already launched Smart Super TV and Super Smartphone. In September, LETV SmartBicycle offered sporting fans the smart era bicycle combined with latest technology and brilliantappearance. Moreover, LETV Sports will launch several self-branded smart hardware such aspersonal camera and exercise equipment. As for value-added service, LETV Sports is creating Lottery,E-commerce, O2O training services to our sports-driven fans, which highlights the mission of LETVSports: Keep changing the sports lifestyle.

In May 2015, LETV Sports announced the Round A funding result. Wanda Group's Wang Jianlin andan investment firm founded by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Jack Ma took part in the Round A fundingfor LETV Sports. These investments not only guarantee LETV Sports’ cash flow, but also the valuableresource: Wanda Group is the owner of Infront Sports & Media, and Alibaba is the biggest B2B & B2Cplatform in China.

Recently, LETV Sports is in the Round B funding process, with market valueestimated to be USD 3 billion.In the fast growing process, LETV is also facing the challenges—few fans choose to pay for sportscontent, and few companies ask fans to pay. Nobody can give an answer to the question that howlong China will establish a mature Pay-Tv/Pay-per-view sports media market. However, opportunitiesare definitely existing in this awaken sports giant country.

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