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Dentsu agrees raft of J.League international deals ahead of season resumption

Andres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe takes a corner kick. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Dentsu, the Japanese advertising agency heavily involved in sports marketing, has concluded a number of broadcast deals for the J.League ahead of the Japanese top flight’s resumption on July 4.

The new deals cover one Asian territory (Thailand), but focus mainly on Central and Eastern Europe with agreements struck in the DACH region (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) and across six Balkan nations.

Dentsu holds the international distribution rights to all territories outside of China to the J.League after acquiring the rights in October 2019. China Sports Media is the J.League’s distributor inside of China. Both parties’ deals will run until 2022.

Thai commercial broadcaster MCOT has gained free-to-air rights to the J.League with the bulk of rights to the competition held by pay-television broadcaster SiamSport.

Sportdigital Fussball, the subscription broadcaster in German-speaking countries, has acquired the exclusive J.League rights in the DACH region. The broadcaster also holds rights to another major Asian football property in Korea’s top-tier league, the K League, having acquired those rights in early May.

Balkan pay-television broadcaster SportKlub has acquired J.League rights across Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia.

The J.League has signed a number of high-profile deals in a bid to increase its international exposure in recent months.

Notably, the rights-holder agreed a 140-territory content deal with Japanese ecommerce business Rakuten to launch the latter’s Rakuten Sports platform. That agreement involved the creation of a live and video-on-demand platform for the J.League, with a particular emphasis on appealing to fans across South East Asia, where the competition’s popularity continues to develop.