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Badminton World Federation agrees Youku streaming rights deal in China

Alibaba-owned streaming platform sees sport as a vehicle for expansion.

29 April 2022 Steve McCaskill
Badminton World Federation agrees Youku streaming rights deal in China

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  • BWF’s tournaments will be on Youku until 2025
  • Youku adds to live sports offering that also includes Uefa Champions League

Chinese streaming platform Youku has secured the broadcast rights to Badminton World Federation (BWF) events in the country.

The deal covers the BWF World Championships, The Thomas Cup the Uber Cup, and the Sudirman Cup for the next five years.

The agreement, struck with BWF’s partner Infront, is significant given the relative popularity of the sport in China, which is a dominant force at international level.

Alibaba-owned Youku is one of China’s most popular video streaming services, focusing primarily on entertainment content but has recently expanded its interest in sport as it looks to expand its reach and fend off the competition.

Chinese government restrictions mean many global digital platforms and services have a limited presence in the country or are absent entirely, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter. This has given rise to domestic platforms such as Alibaba and Sina Weibo which are hugely popular but relatively unknown outside their homeland.

Youku secured the streaming rights to the 2018 Fifa World Cup through a sublicensing deal with China Central Television (CCTV) and secured non-exclusive streaming rights to the Uefa Champions League last year.

The BWF was recently named as the number one performing international federation (IF) on social media in this year’s #SportOnSocial League Table from sports marketing agency Redtorch, which ranks Olympic federations based on their performance across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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