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SBD Global/June 12, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Japanese Ministry Chipping In To Finance J.League's Push Into Southeast Asia
Published June 12, 2014
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SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY: The three clubs were founded by, and still sponsored and part-owned by, major electronics manufacturers, which will use the opportunity to push their products in the three emerging markets. Panasonic sponsors Gamba Osaka, Hitachi backs Kashiwa Reysol and Fujitsu is allied with Kawasaki Frontale. The J.League is struggling to expand at home, and is looking to tap into the high-growth economies of Southeast Asia for merchandising and broadcast rights revenue. Average attendances at J 1 games averaged more than 19,000 in the late 2000s, but have fallen back into the 17,000s range in the current decade. As well as a slowly shrinking population, Japanese football has been somewhat a victim of its own success as many of its best players have left to ply their trade in European leagues. Japan has also begun to export coaches, with Toshiya Miura taking over as the manager of the Vietnam national team in May. The appointment of Miura, who has previously managed six J.League teams, makes him the first Japanese coach of an overseas national team.
Gavin Blair is a writer in Tokyo.