Tom Online (Nasdaq: TOMO) announced today a strategic partnership with ESPN STAR Sports, to bring English Premier League content to its tom.com portal.
Under the deal, TOM Online and ESPN STAR Sports will jointly run a Chinese-language English Premier League channel on TOM Online's website (http://www.tom.com). The alliance will also offer TOM Online channels to promote its English Premier League product offerings on ESPN STAR Sports' media network, which includes more than 30 TV channels and the newspaper Football Press.
There are more than 300 million soccer fans in China, according to government statistics. Research firm CVSC-SOFRES MEDIA (CSM) said the popularity and television viewership of the English Premier League (EPL) have reached an all-time high in China. Researches showed about sixty in every 100 Chinese men between the age of 25 and 44 followed the EPL. Its matches, which are carried on national network Dragon TV and over 30 local stations a few times a week, tend to attract professional males with high incomes.