Chinese fans face big bill to watch Premier League

Followers of the English Premier League in China may have to start paying to watch the broadcast next season if a Guangdong-based Pay TV station wins the tender for the 2007-2010 broadcasting rights. An alliance of over a dozen local TV stations that include sports channels like CCTV-5, Shanghai-based G Sports and Oriental Entertainment and News, charge an annual fee of 150 yuan to relay European football. But Guangdong's Tiansheng Digital TV is likely to end that honeymoon if its bid is successful.

"The chances of open-wire Premier League broadcast in the 2007-08 season are really slim," said Li Hui of G-Sports, as reported by Zhou Zuyi in Shanghai Daily. Li refused to divulge any details of the bidding or the asking price for the rights but Tiansheng will reportedly charge 188 yuan (US$23.5) per month for live feeds.

Italy's Serie A, Spain's La Liga and Germany's Bundesliga has massive fan following across the country but the English Premiership enjoys the highest viewing figures among all the G-Sports broadcast, said Li. "And I suppose it's the same case with other members in our alliance."