LeSports, a China’s Internet-based eco-sports company and independently funded subsidiary of global technology brand LeEco, secured $1.2 billion (RMB 8 billion) in Series B financing.
Backers included 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.
The round brings the company’s total investment to $1.35 billion (RMB 8.8 billion) and values the LeEco unit at $3.3 billion (RMB 21.5 billion).
Established in March 2014 and led by CEO Zhenjian Lei, LeSports is China’s leading Internet-based eco-sports company with a business model spanning event operations, content platform, smart devices, and value-added service, offering a variety of services, including O2O training, gaming, e-commerce, ticketing and more.
The company launched its first smart device, the Super Bike, in August 2015, with more products already in the research and development stage. 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. It is also the media rights holder for more than 300 major sporting events worldwide, including the Chinese Super League (CSL), Major League Baseball (MLB), English Premier League and has 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.
LeSports also invested in and acquired a series of businesses, including Zhangyu TV and SodaSoccer, in order to provide users with a comprehensive sports entertainment ecosystem.
The company’s $122.9 million (RMB 800 million) Series A financing May 2015 was led by Wanda Group, along with Yunfeng Capital (backed by Alibaba Group) and seven other venture capital firms and individual investors.