Mediapro, the Spanish company which since 2015 has managed the TV rights for La Liga soccer matches and a few weeks ago was also awarded those of Serie A, has become a Chinese company. The investment fund Orient Hontai bought 54.5 percent of Imagina, the conglomerate that controls it, for around €1 billion.
This is nothing new. For instance, Infront Sports & Media, which, among other things, manages the TV rights for FIFA and acts as adviser for the sale of the rights for the Italian league, was sold in 2005 by the US fund Bridgepoint to the Chinese Wanda Group for €1.2 billion, while in the following year, a consortium made up of Everbright and Baofeng acquired MP & Silva for just under €1 billion (which, among others, holds the foreign rights for the Serie A).
This is because television has been, and is still taken to be, the first step in China’s long march toward controlling global soccer. That endeavor also includes acquisitions and investments in particular teams (Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Aston Villa, Inter, and also, arguably, A.C. Milan), and is set to conclude, according to Xi Jinping’s plan, with the organization of the 2030 World Cup, and with a Chinese national team capable of winning it by 2050.