Premier League 'nervous' as China pulls Arsenal match

  • Video report by ITV News Asia Editor Debi Edward

China is a huge market for the Premier League and its clubs and has an unrivalled potential for growth.

This goes way beyond the TV deal.

Clubs have varying types of relationships with China.

Wolves have Chinese owners, Manchester City have significant Chinese investors, Manchester United are building club entertainment centres in China, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth have Chinese sponsors and of course many clubs go on pre-season tours there.

China’s business tentacles reach all parts of the Premier League.

As far as the broadcast deal is concerned; well the overseas rights for the Premier League action earnt more than the domestic market for the first time, this time round.

Mesut Ozil critisied China's treatment of Uighur Muslims in a tweet that sparked outrage in the country. Credit: PA/Twitter

Of that, China is worth £560 million - 10 times more than the previous contract.

It’s a total that equates to as good as £9 million per club per year.

What will make the Premier League particularly nervous is what has happened to the Houston Rockets NBA team.

A team executive there posted one tweet supporting the pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong.

A fan drapes a Chinese national flag over an NBA banner during a preseason NBA basketball game. Credit: PA

At a stroke their games were taken off air and lucrative sponsorship deals were pulled.

The Premier League is not commenting but their biggest concern on Monday night will be that rather than dying down, this row escalates with the potential that could jeopardise any future broadcast deals in China.

This, of course, given the financial future the League has mapped out in China, would be a very serious issue for them, they’d find impossible to ignore.