Marin Honda Takes the Lead in Fuji’s Popular Program | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Marin Honda Takes the Lead in Fuji’s Popular Program

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It has been decided that the sports news program “Sport!” once broadcast on the Fuji Television network will be revived starting this spring.

“‘Sport!’ was a long-running program that aired from 2001 to 2016. The motivation for launching the program was that viewers began seeking information on various major sports, including soccer, and the predecessor ‘Pro Baseball News’ couldn’t fully address their needs. On Mondays when there were no baseball games, they always featured international soccer specials, among other creative efforts, to establish consistent viewership.” (Source: Fuji TV insider)

Will the resurgence of popular programs lead sports coverage?

However, due to the ongoing economic downturn and a decrease in advertising expenditures, cost-cutting measures were required, leading to the discontinuation of “Sport!”.

“Currently, the role of a sports news program is being fulfilled by ‘S-PARK,’ which airs on weekends. However, despite being on the air for five years, it lacks recognition among athletes and sports-related individuals. Even when requesting interviews, there are still instances of being asked, ‘What program is that?’ Last year, during the camp coverage before the WBC, star players like Shohei Ohtani (29) were reportedly unaware of the existence of ‘S-PARK.’

Even staff from professional baseball teams have made sarcastic remarks, saying, ‘There used to be good sports news programs like Pro Baseball News and Sport! on Fuji, right?’ This year, with the Paris Olympics, there is heightened attention on sports, making it an opportune time to revive the familiar Sport! that the public was accustomed to.” (Same source)

In the past, Fuji Television’s sports program MCs produced popular female announcers one after another, enhancing the station’s brand image.

“As for the announcers who rose to fame through Sport!, Uchida Kyoko (47) and Hirai Rio (41) are well-known. In the process of reviving the program, the production team is reportedly looking for a caster with a background in athletics. While S-PARK features several former athletes like Fujikawa Kyuji (43), considering the predominantly male viewership, it’s essential to include former female athletes. A standout candidate is the recently retired female figure skater, Honda Marin (22). In the past, Fuji TV’s affiliate station, Kansai Telecasting Corporation (Kantele), appointed her younger sister, Honda Miyu (19), as an assistant for a sports program. The station has a longstanding relationship with broadcasting the All Japan Figure Skating Championships, and the sisters have a good rapport. Whether announcers like Sakuma Minami (26) and Matsuzaki Ryoka (24) will continue or if there will be a shift during the fall lineup remains uncertain. Sakuma’s proficiency in languages, particularly her ability to interview foreign athletes, might keep her going until the Olympics, but there could be a generational change in the autumn reshuffling.” (Another Fuji insider)

Executives from affiliated stations also state, “We welcome the opportunity to work with a program with a positive image.” Will Fuji’s last-ditch effort prove effective in the competitive Olympic year?

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