Japan’s National Soccer Team’s “Slumping Viewership” Has Not Stopped | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Japan’s National Soccer Team’s “Slumping Viewership” Has Not Stopped

The day when the Japan national soccer team will disappear from terrestrial TV broadcasting is approaching...

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Japan’s national team pulls out of the World Cup final qualifying match against Oman with a slumped shoulder after losing the important first match. Even more than the result, the ratings shocked everyone involved (Photo: Afro)

Japan’s national soccer team has been shaken to its very foundations.

The opening home game of the Asian qualifying round for the World Cup (September 2, against Oman), which is held once every four years and has become a national event, ended up with a household viewer rating of 13.1% (Video Research, Kanto region).

The TV broadcasting rights of the national soccer team matches have been fiercely contested by commercial broadcasters, with NHK coming on board as “content that will surely attract viewers.

Starting with the 44.7% viewership rating for the joyous match in Johor Bahru (November 16, 1997), which marked the first appearance in the World Cup, the TV ratings have been high, but now there is no stopping the steady decline. In preparation for next year’s World Cup in Qatar, terrestrial broadcasting of away games (in enemy territory) from the final qualifying round for the World Cup, which began on September 2, has finally disappeared completely, leaving only DAZN (distribution). In the current situation, it must be said that the Japanese national soccer team is rapidly becoming a “wacon.

The main viewer group is males in their 50s, and those in their teens and 30s are extremely low.

The numbers don’t lie – the 13.1% TV rating was an astonishing figure, comparable to the first time Japan was defeated by Oman, a team of lower caliber.

“Japan’s national team is now taken for granted to be in the World Cup. But the Oman game showed us that this is not the case. As the Corona disaster continues, I hope you will continue to support us on TV.

Kozo Tajima, 63, president of the Japan Football Association, made a comment the day after the match asking for support on TV, revealing his painful feelings.

There is a comparison that is easy to understand. Halil Japan was also defeated in the opening home game of the last World Cup qualifying round (September 1, 2016 vs. UAE), with a viewership rating of 17.2% at the time. In the past, national soccer matches had viewership ratings of over 30%, not 20%. Even so, he said, ” In primetime, if a program gets a household viewership rating of 15%, it passes as content. There’s always next time. The fact that Japan’s national soccer team got less than 15 percent in the opening game of the final qualifying round for the World Cup, which is held once every four years, was a surprise to us.

This magazine obtained the “Daily Report on Viewer Ratings” for the day of the Oman match. Indeed, Japan’s national soccer team ranked first in the top 10 in viewership ratings for the day, and second in household viewership (13.1%) behind NHK’s morning TV series “Welcome Back Monet” (16.1%), but not far behind the third-ranked news station (12.8%). For TV Asahi, which aired the terrestrial broadcast of the Oman match, the second and third places were dominated, with the Thursday drama “Emergency Investigation Room” (12.4%) also in fifth place. With four of the top 10 programs by household being TV Asahi, the day appeared to be a single winner among commercial broadcasters.

However, I obtained a separate “minute by minute chart” that shows the viewership of the Oman match, and was astonished when I looked at the numbers.

In the minute by minute chart, the viewership ratings for every minute from around 7:10 p.m. to the end of the match, broadcast on TV Asahi on September 2, are broken down by age group and gender. According to the data, only men and women in their 50s and older had the highest ratings, with men in their 50s and older supporting the 13.1% household rating for the Oman match.

In contrast, teens and 30-somethings, both male and female, never reached double digits during the match time period. It was extremely low. All commercial broadcasters are changing their programming direction to focus on the male and female viewership ratings of the 13 to 49 year old age group, which is called the “core group (=buying group),” due to the drop in the amount of commercials placed by the Corona disaster, but “the Japan national soccer team is not seen by the core group, and this is fatal,” said another commercial broadcast director.

The TV broadcasting rights for Japan’s national soccer team matches in the final Asian qualifying round for the World Cup are all earned by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). This is also a major hindrance. This year, the AFC signed an eight-year contract worth an estimated $2 billion with DDMC Forth, a Swiss-Chinese joint venture. The company sold the broadcasting rights for the final Asian qualifying round for 26.25 billion yen per year, which is also the highest amount in history.

The Japan Association, which is on the side of the buyers, has long argued that the broadcasting rights fee for the final qualifying round of the World Cup is the right of the home team, just like the powerful countries in Europe and South America. However, the AFC side kept rejecting this argument, saying, “Is it enough for Japan to make money only for its own association? As a result, the broadcasting rights fee being paid this time is said to be “more than 300 million yen for one match,” which is more than three times the estimated 100 million yen that was paid for the broadcasting rights in the days when the professional baseball Giants enjoyed high viewer ratings.

On August 6, Kubo lost to Mexico in the third place game of the Tokyo Olympics, missing out on a medal for the first time in 53 years. The average viewer rating for the game was 13.2%, and the semi-final match against Spain three days earlier had recorded 30.8%, so the “downward slope” had already begun (Photo: Afro).

Why terrestrial and DAZN are “teaming up

In the final qualifying round of the tournament, the home matches will be shown on terrestrial TV, but the away matches will only be streamed by DAZN, which charges 1,925 yen per month (including tax) to watch the sports broadcasts, which were launched in 2017 under the banner of the J-League.

“We wanted to stick to live terrestrial broadcasts of national team matches, which can be seen by people of all ages. We are sorry for our inability to do so.” (Tajima, President of the Japan Association)

It may seem that TV networks and DAZN are competing with each other on how to show the home and away matches, but in fact, they are holding hands. DAZN has the rights to the away game footage. Normally, DAZN would be able to sell the footage to TV stations for news and sports coverage. As the rights holder, DAZN will take the lead on how to do this.

“It’s hard to say exactly how much it costs depending on the rank of the competition, but it’s around 100,000 yen for three minutes per program, and there are some competitions where you can use it for news and sports, but not for wide shows.

However, for this year’s final qualifying round, it was decided to provide the footage requested by TV stations free of charge.

“However, for this final qualifying round, it was decided to provide the footage requested by TV stations free of charge. However, for this final qualifying round, it was decided that TV stations would provide the requested footage free of charge. The communication costs will be borne by each TV station, but this is all for the sake of boosting the excitement of Japan’s national team matches.

If we don’t get more people interested in the game, we won’t be able to get people to watch the away game… This shows the sense of crisis on the part of DAZN.

The live terrestrial broadcast of the final qualifying round for the World Cup is a way to measure the value of the national team’s popularity. The stagnation of Japan’s national soccer team, which does not get viewership ratings and is not a hot topic of conversation, will force other sports organizations, which have been using it as a “reference book” to generate revenue in the Japanese sports industry, to change course. If they continue to use the Japan national soccer team as a model, they may no longer be able to generate revenue. This could be the beginning of a negative chain of events for other sports.

The game between Japan and Iran on November 16, 1997, which recorded the highest viewer rating ever of 44.7%. Can Japan regain the enthusiasm it had when it decided to participate in the World Cup for the first time?

If Japan’s national soccer team is strong enough to be hated, there is still light. Before the qualifying round began, veteran defender Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo) said, “At the World Cup in Qatar, we will aim for the top eight. If that is the case, we need to win the final qualifying round handily. Moriyasu Japan’s results after two matches have been just the opposite.

In the match against China, which they could not afford to lose, they narrowly won 1-0 (starting at midnight Japan time on August 8). Two days later, at the Japan Football Association’s 100th anniversary celebration on September 10, former Japan national team player Kunishige Kamamoto said, “If it was like that (1-0), it would have been better not to watch. I ‘m not sure if he will be able to do that under the various pressures.

The incredible power of the Japanese national team’s performance in the final Asian qualifying round for the World Cup, which sent the whole country into a frenzy, is now a thing of the past. The only way to break through the frustrating scene is to show overwhelming strength and make it to the tournament for the seventh consecutive time…

Top 10 Household Ratings for September 2, 2021 in the Kanto Region] (Video Research)
1) 16.5% NHK TV series “Welcome Back Monet
(2) 13.1% TV Asahi 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Final Qualifier
(iii) 12.8% TV Asahi News Station
4) 12.5% TBS Prevato!
12.4% TV Asahi Thursday Drama “Emergency Investigation Room”, NHK News 7
11.5% NTV news every “Part 3”, TV Asahi Shinichi Hatori Morning Show
10.0% NHK News Ohayo Nippon
⑩ 9.9% TV Tokyo: The most shocking images 146 in a row

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