DAZN is further consolidating its position in Japanese sports media via an extension of its agreement with the J League covering lower division football.

The OTT streaming platform is a long-time partner of the J League, Japan’s professional football association. Under its latest agreement, rights to the third division J3 will be retained by the J League and distributed on DAZN, which will remain the J League’s media partner until 2033, having previously held the rights until 2028.

This builds on the company’s existing broadcasting portfolio of the top-flight J1 and second division J2. DAZN asserts that distribution of all three leagues will enable it to reach a wider audience and fan base for Japanese football.

J League Chairman, Yoshikazu Nonomura, remarked: “Since the beginning of my tenure as Chairman, DAZN and I have had a number of discussions about how best to continue growing together. 

“In order for the J-League to grow into a more attractive league based on our new strategy, DAZN has agreed to expand the number of free-to-air match broadcasts. 

“We feel that increasing the number of opportunities to experience the J-League in various forms, including the J3 League, which will now be retained by the J-League, will lead to an expansion of the fanbase and create a new partnership that will be win-win for the J-League and DAZN.”

Moving forward, DAZN has pledged to continue delivering a ‘premium viewing experience’ for the second and third divisions, whilst a key commercial caveat of the deal has seen a renegotiation of rights fees.

DAZN’s rights fees to Japanese football have been extended as a result of the agreement, chiefly due to the extension of the partnership by a further five years, whilst there have also been ‘refinements’ made to the duo’s profit sharing model.

The platform maintains that this will allow “both parties to develop from continued mutual growth to a healthy business and benefit respectively from each other’s growth”.

DAZN Japan Executive Vice President, Manabu Yamada, commented: “The J.League has been one of DAZN’s most important partners since our launch, and we know it is very important content for sports fans in Japan. 

“The success of the J.League is the success of DAZN Japan and under the new leadership of both parties, we will continue to build an even better relationship, actively implement various new initiatives to promote the growth of the J.League and do our utmost to make the J.League even more exciting for fans to enjoy.”

The extension of DAZN’s partnership with the J League marks the third major commercial broadcasting development for the company  in the new year, following the removal of its paywall for women’s football and clinching of Professional Fighters League (PFL) rights in France.

Last year proved to be a highly significant one for DAZN as the London-based company put its foot on the gas of combining sports media and betting assets, building on the launch of DAZN Bet in 2022.

DAZN Group CEO, Shay Segev, said: “Launched as our first market in 2016, DAZN has grown into the biggest digital sports platform in Japan. The success of the Japanese business is vital to DAZN’s overall strategy, and this agreement reinforces our valued relationship with the J.League. 

“This partnership is the foundation of our business in Japan. We are delighted to extend until 2033, and our continued investment will further contribute to the development of Japanese football together with the J.League.”

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