Earlier this year I talked about Guangdong Television's purchase of the rights to broadcast the English Premiership. They were going to set up a subscription-only station called Tian Sheng and were going to charge a shitload as a way of recouping the US$50 million or so they spent to buy the rights.
Well, two weeks ago I was in Hong Kong and on every corner it seemed like there were people signing up people for whatever station you need in Hong Kong to watch English soccer. When I returned to Shenzhen, I figured I would see what was available here, despite the rumors that Tian Sheng would charge RMB188 a month. Since the majority of people reading this are expats (who are rich) and foreigners (who are richer and if in the US, own guns, isn't steoreotyping fun?) because this site is still blocked, despite rumors to the contrary, RMB188 doesn't seem like a lot. Yet right now I pay RMB120 and get HBO, Cinemax, Star Movies, Star Sports, ESPN, and a host of other channels.
That isn't the issue, even if it is RMB188 a month (which it turns out IS indeed how much it costs in Guangzhou) or even if its RMB588 a year (like in Wuhan), I'm willing to pay it. But...
It seems that in their infinite wisdom, after spending US$50 million, Tian Sheng failed to complete licensing agreements with all the local providers and so they are only up and running in a few "second-tier" cities. Beijing? Nope. Shanghai? Not yet. Shenzhen? Sorry, go to Hong Kong. Hmm...So the three richest cities in China, the ones that have the most number of people who would be willing to spend an outrageous amount for something trivial like soccer and the ones where people actually could afford the channel are the ones where you can't get it.
As a fan of the EPL, I'm outraged I still can't see it in Shenzhen. As someone looking in from the outside, I can't help laughing at how Guangdong TV tossed its investment, at least for this year, down the drain by horrible planning, I just hope that doesn't come out of the taxes I pay to Guangdong Province.