2018 Volume 68 Issue 2 Pages 14-27
The media strategies of professional sports have been revolving around broadcasters, and TV broadcasts have been the main tool for professional sports associations to expand their business. However, the J.League, the professional football league in Japan, started taking a new approach from its 2017 season in tandem with an OTT player and telecom operators.This article focuses on the new media strategy of the J.League that decided to partner with telecom companies. The author delved into the background and the intention of these telecom operators and the J.League to clarify the whole picture of this trend as well as to highlight the potential changes in the operation of the J.League. Based on these investigations, the author examined how its media strategy involving telecom services would spread to other professional sports leagues and how it would impact broadcasters.Supported by the telecom companies’ abundant funds, business strategies, and technologies, the J.League is now capable of offering more captivating footage of matches for a wider spectrum of viewers, and the new media strategy is dramatically changing tactics, including operating smart stadiums. These movers indicate a huge potential for further business expansion. With some other professional sports leagues also launching media strategies in cooperation with telecom operators, concerns about possible repercussions for broadcasters are growing.