LeSports, Chinese tech giant LeEco’s sports arm, on Thursday was rumored to cut its workforce to 200 from its current 700-strong workforce.
This is the latest sign that LeSports is undergoing a series of setbacks including losing key management executives and broadcasting rights of international games. Here is a look back at LeSports’ short five-year history during LeEco’s volatile development.
· 2012 – LeEco launched its sports arm LeSports to offer broadcasting and live streaming services for sports games including soccer, basketball, and tennis.
· December 2015 – LeSports signs a five-year contract for naming rights to name Wukesong Gymnasium, one of Beijing’s landmarks and China’s top-notch stadiums.
· February 2016 – Purchased copyrights for the Chinese Super League during the 2016/2017 season for RMB 2.7 billion (USD 392 million).
· April 2016 – LeSports raised RMB 8 billion (USD 1.2 billion) in its Series B financing round led by Chinese aviation and shipping conglomerate HNA Group.
· November 2016 – LeEco founder and CEO Jia Yueting sent a letter to LeEco employees, admitting LeEco’s “extremely quick expansion and great capital challenges”.
· January 2017 – LeEco lands USD 2.4 billion investment from Sunac China and becomes its second largest shareholder.
· March 2017 – LeSports COO Yu Hang stepped down.
· March 2017 – Loses copyrights for a series of major sports games including Chinese Super League and Asian Football Confederation.
· April 2017 – Sunac China founder Sun Hongbin denounced LeSports’ purchase of Chinese Super League and said that “LeSports lost RMB 1.3 billion for its RMB 1.35 billion annual fee [for purchasing copyrights of the Chinese Super League].”
· May 16 – LeSports stops sponsoring naming rights for Wukesong Gymnasium in Beijing.
· May 18 – LeSports is rumored to have a massive layoff, and only 200 from its current 700 staff will remain. Hopefully, LeSports will be able to develop sustainable profit models after stopping its cash burning businesses.
Below is the visualization of the winding path of LeSports.
(Top photo from Lesports.com)