Japan’s national team for the Asian qualifying round of the World Cup in Qatar will take on Saudi Arabia (away) on October 7 and Australia (home) on October 12.
Moriyasu’s team, which has won one game and lost one, will be facing two powerful nations in what should be a battle for supremacy, but there is no such mood. This magazine has learned that Dentsu, the marketing company of the Japan Football Association for many years, has begun to make a full-scale “advance investment” in the sale of terrestrial TV broadcasting rights for the Japanese national basketball team. We looked into the mystery.
A “sales pitch” to commercial broadcasters for basketball broadcasting rights
The popularity of Japan’s national soccer team has reached a turning point: the team lost its opening home game (0-1, Oman) in the final Asian qualifying round for the World Cup that began in September, and narrowly won its second game, 1-0, against China. If they lose even one of their first two games in October, their path to the World Cup, in which they have participated for six consecutive tournaments, will be narrowed, and the question of dismissing Moriyasu will emerge.
Coach Hajime Moriyasu, 53, commented with determination, “My job depends on whether we live or die one game at a time.
I even heard this comment from an official of the Japan Football Association.
“From the next World Cup in 2026, the number of participating countries will increase by 16 from the current 32 to 48. The number of countries that will participate in the next World Cup in 2026 will increase by 16 from the current 32 to 48, and the number of Asian qualifiers that Japan will play in will also increase from the current 4.5 to 8. The next Asian final qualifying round for the World Cup will be at the same level as the second round. This is the last time we will have a thrilling final qualifier. This will probably be the last time we will be able to watch the final qualifiers live on terrestrial TV.
In spite of this, there is no excitement like in the past Asian final qualifiers. Why is that?
In the midst of all this, I caught a glimpse of the “transformation” of Dentsu, the major advertising agency that has supported the popularity of the Japanese national soccer team. Dentsu has started to invest in men’s and women’s basketball in earnest.
Dentsu has signed a lump-sum contract with the Japan Football Association for sponsorship and broadcasting rights for a total of more than 16 billion yen over six years since 2001, followed by an eight-year contract worth more than 24 billion yen since 2007, an unprecedented amount of money in the history of Japanese sports. The Japan Football Association has also become a regular participant in the World Cup thanks to its fervent popularity, and has become the No. 1 earner envied by other sports organizations.
The Japan Football Association owns its own building (JFA House) in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, and in some years the association’s ordinary income exceeded 20 billion yen per year, with nearly 70% of that coming from “representative-related income” centered on the A team. If it weren’t for the Corona disaster, Japan’s national soccer team would be a sure-fire source of 15 billion yen a year.
” The great thing about Dentsu is that it can invest in sports ahead of time,” he said.
The great thing about Dentsu is that it is able to make up-front investments in sports,” said one of the executives who has been involved with the J-League since its launch in 1993, when the league enjoyed a huge boom.
“In the beginning, the broadcasting rights contract for the Japanese national soccer team was not a project that was sure to turn a profit. The national team became stronger in Asia and was able to participate in the World Cup. In a sense, we got lucky and it became a major source of income for the association and the J-League. This was because Dentsu had a corporate culture that said, ‘We are going to develop sports competitions. Without this, neither the J-League nor the Japan Association would have grown to this level.
In 1981, Dentsu invited the Toyota Cup (now the Club World Cup) to Japan to determine the world’s No. 1 club, even though the Japanese soccer league was still amateur at the time. At the time, Toyota Motor Corporation was soliciting advertising agencies to manage the world championship as the title sponsor, and Dentsu acted as a bridge between Toyota and FIFA to make it happen.
The J-League, which has become a social phenomenon, was launched in 1993 and was monopolized by Dentsu’s rival Hakuhodo, which signed various marketing contracts with Dentsu from 2014. The contract has been extended for three years starting in 2020 for the sale of TV broadcasting rights not only in Japan but also overseas. It is safe to say that Dentsu is now involved in almost all of the marketing of popular Japanese sports with the name “Japan’s national team” in the name.
Dentsu has now turned its attention to men’s and women’s basketball as a “destination for advanced investment. As one commercial broadcaster put it.
“In the future, the men’s and women’s national basketball teams will be broadcast on terrestrial TV. The broadcasting rights have been sold to commercial broadcasters. This is the same method used for the broadcasting rights of the Japanese national soccer team.
According to a source, a “battle” is currently underway between NTV and TV Asahi, which has been broadcasting the year-end high school championships for many years.
According to a source, NTV and TV Asahi, which has been televising the high school championships for many years, are currently engaged in a “battle” for the rights. It is unlikely that the World Cup or Olympic qualifying games will be televised during primetime, but Dentsu is making an upfront investment even though it is prepared to lose money.
A lot of talk about Base Yamura and Tokyo Olympics silver medal warrior Okoye…
There is a lot to talk about in basketball right now. The men’s team has two of the world’s best NBA players in Rui Yamura (23) of the Wizards and Yuta Watanabe (26) of the Raptors. The women’s team won an impressive silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. One of the members of the team is Monika (22), the younger sister of Rui Okoye (24) of Rakuten, a professional baseball team.
Tom Horvath (54), the coach of the women’s national team, was appointed as the men’s national team coach in an unprecedented slide. During his time with Toyota, he also worked as a salaried employee at the Tokyo headquarters.
In a TV variety show, he confessed that he met his Japanese wife by “picking her up in Roppongi! He confessed. At home, he speaks in Japanese. “He is a unique national team coach who leads his players in simple Japanese, saying, “I am definitely a hot person,” and “Please support me and I will do my best 100%.
As with soccer, the World Cup and Olympics are big events for both the men’s and women’s national basketball teams. The women’s World Cup will be held next year in Sydney, Australia (September 22-October 1). In addition, the men’s World Cup (August 25 to September 10, 2023) will be held in three countries: the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan (Okinawa) in the preliminary round.
“In 2023, the year of the Men’s World Cup, the Japan Basketball Association will celebrate its 100th anniversary with the catchphrase, “We want to energize Japan through basketball. The B-League, which is in its sixth year of existence and supports the national team, has also decided to invite Takeshi Okada, 65, current chairman of J3 FC Imabari, who has twice led Japan’s national soccer team to the World Cup, to join its board of directors.
The creation of a new “nationally popular sport” will be a welcome development. He is sure to be a “reliable reinforcement” for the basketball world.
On the other hand, what about the soccer industry? In preparation for next year’s World Cup in Qatar, the soccer industry is saying, “We want to make the best possible preparations for each and every game and keep winning. Our goal is to finish in the top eight or higher at this tournament,” said Moriyasu. If Japan loses the two games in October, it will be obvious to everyone that the national soccer team will become more distant from Japan.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the fate of the “change of allegiance” in popular sports, excluding baseball, will depend on the outcome of these games.