Rumor: China Telecom after F1 rights in China

A new player looks set to emerge in China’s sports media landscape, with giant telco China Telecom in advanced talks to acquire digital rights for Formula 1 motor racing, according to local industry insiders.

China Telecom is closing in on local digital rights for Formula 1, per SportBusiness. Should a deal be finalized, it would represent a significant expansion for the telecommunications giant, which hasn’t been a major player in sports broadcasting.

  • Last year, 70.8 million unique people (up 13% over 2020) in China watched at least one F1 race. There were also significant YoY gains in Spain (+272%), Russia (+129%), and the USA (+53%).
  • That figure was the highest among all countries and represented a 13% year-over-year increase.
  • Globally, F1 had 445 million unique viewers in 2021.

China Telecom was spun off onto the Hong Kong stock exchange by state-owned China Telecommunications Corporation in 2002. It had 121 million subscribers on its Internet Protocol television platform at the end of last year, along with 372.4 million mobile subscribers and 170 million broadband users.

F1 saw positive TV results in German and Brazilian markets, where new broadcasting deals were struck.