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SBD Global/July 17, 2013/Finance

J.League's 18 Clubs See 8% Revenue Increase To '12 Average Of $31.5M

The J.League has seen 8% growth in '12 even though TV, merchandise revenue slipped.
The 18 clubs in the J1 top tier of Japan’s Professional Football League increased revenue by 8% to an average of 3.15B yen ($31.5M) in '12, even as money distributed by the J.League itself fell slightly. J.League spokesperson Yasunori Fujiwara told SBD Global, "Income declined a little from local TV rights deals and merchandising, which are the two biggest contributors, along with sponsorship, to the J.League’s finances. So the money we distribute to clubs fell by about 1 percent last year." Total revenue at J1 clubs rose to 56.7B yen ($567M), with income from advertising and sponsorship growing 6% to $251M, and gate receipts boosted 10% to $119M, after an '11 season affected by the triple earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters which saw total attendances down by more than 800,000 across the two divisions.

BOOST FROM TOKYO: According to Fujiwara, the return to the top division of FC Tokyo, one of the league’s biggest clubs, also boosted J1 revenues, while hitting income in J2, which fell by 8% to a total of $205M. Urawa Reds, based just north of Tokyo in Saitama, remained Japan’s and Asia’s biggest football club, with revenues of $53.5M from average gates of 36,634.

TV DEALS RAISE PROFILE: The J.League is continuing with its attempts to raise its profile across Asia with two recent TV deals in the region. Following an agreement announced last month with Vietnam Television Cable Corp. to show one recorded and one live game weekly, the J.League inked a deal this month with Hong Kong Cable TV’s i-Cable. The new arrangement will see three games from each round of J.League matches broadcast, up from two games in a previous deal with PCCW’s net-based NOW network. Fujiwara said that although the new deals will see an increase in J.League games broadcast in Vietnam and Hong Kong from this month, they don’t provide additional revenue. Fujiwara: "The J.League doesn’t charge for rights to broadcast games in Asian territories, it’s just for promotion." Fujiwara added that networks such as Eurosport and Al Jazeera do pay licensing fees.
Gavin Blair is a writer in Tokyo.
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