REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LeSports, China’s leading Internet-based eco-sports company and independently funded subsidiary of global technology brand LeEco, announced it has secured $1.2 billion (RMB 8 billion) in Series B financing, bringing the company’s total investment to $1.35 billion (RMB 8.8 billion). Yueting Jia, founder, chairman and CEO of Le Holdings made this announcement at the 2016 China (Shenzhen) IT Summit. The cash infusion now values the LeEco unit at $3.3 billion (RMB 21.5 billion), underscoring the company’s record growth and significantly increased value in a stunning two year span.
LeSports, established on March 22, 2014, became independent from Letv.com and started distributing its businesses across the entire sports industry based on the unique value proposition of combining events operations, streaming content, and smart devices with internet services.
“LeSports has quickly emerged as the No. 1 platform in China’s Internet sports industry,” said LeSports CEO Zhenjian Lei. “We are on a mission to provide our customers with better sports entertainment by enhancing the LeSports content platform, expanding our user base and acquiring more resources from the industry. In addition, we will be developing premium smart devices and expanding the number of products in the industry – ultimately creating new and better sporting experiences for our users.”
Key highlights and recent milestones for LeSports include:
- Media rights holder for more than 300 major sporting events worldwide, with more than 70 percent exclusivity
- As of February 2016, secured exclusive new media rights for the Chinese Super League (CSL) covering the next two years
- A three-year in-depth strategic partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) for broadcasting rights in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau
- Exclusive live broadcasting rights for the English Premier League in Hong Kong from 2016 to 2019
- Notable partnerships with various sports rights holders like FIFA, UEFA, English Premier League, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), NFL, MLB, and the NCAA’s Pac-12 Conference
- Partnered with Bird’s Nest Culture Creative to establish the LeSports Innovation Fund with an asset under management of $772 million (RMB 5 billion)
- Title sponsorship of the Beijing Guoan Football Club, which now competes in Chinese Super League matches under its new name “Beijing Guoan LeEco Football Club”
- LeSports’ award-winning Super Bike entered the Chinese market in 2015, winning extensive recognition from users and the press alike. Fast Company ranked LeEco among the 2016 World's Most Innovative Companies, hailing the Super Bike as a “connected device on wheels”
- Invested in and acquired a series of businesses, including Zhangyu TV and SodaSoccer, in order to provide users with a more comprehensive sports entertainment ecosystem
- Awarded title sponsorship of the Wukesong Stadium in late 2015, which has since been renamed the LeSports Center
LeSports’ Series B financing attracted more than 30 investors including HNA Group—the Chinese conglomerate involved in aviation, holding, capital, tourism and logistics divisions—as well as several celebrity investors, including Sun Honglei, Jia Nailiang and Liu Tao. More information and the complete list of investors will be announced at LeSports’ Beijing press conference in mid-April.
LeSports closed its $122.9 million (RMB 800 million) Series A financing in May 2015 led by Wanda Group, along with Yunfeng Capital (backed by Alibaba Group) and seven other venture capital firms and individual investors completing the round.
LeSports is China’s leading Internet-based eco-sports company known for its unique business model spanning event operations, content platform, smart devices, and value-added service. With its motto of “Your Participation, Our Goal,” LeSports strives to create a sports system that covers the whole industrial chain, integrate sports resources from around the world, enhance the integration of technologies into sports and promote an overall upgrading of the sports industry. In March 2014, LeSports was officially established into an eco-sports company covering the entire industrial chain.
With its comprehensive content platform, LeSports now holds the media rights to over 300 sporting events worldwide covering 10,000 matches. With its abundant sports rights, LeSports is now known as the biggest sports media empire in the industry. LeSports launched its first smart device, the Super Bike, in August 2015, with many more products already in the research and development stage. The company continues to offer a variety of services, including O2O training, gaming, e-commerce, ticketing and more. As an event organizer, Le Sports introduced the International Champions Cup (ICC) into China, oversaw the operation and promotion of the Women’s Super League and large-scale events including several marathons and races.