Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has acquired exclusive television and digital broadcast rights of Japanese top-flight soccer’s J.League. The current season of the league started on 26 February 2021 and will end in December 2021. Under the terms of the deal, SPN will broadcast the games from the 19th of June, matchday 18 of 38.
SPN will broadcast J. League in eight countries – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In India, it will be broadcasted on the Sony Ten 2 linear channels and streamed live on SonyLIV.
The J.League has been seeking to expand its international eyeballs and grow its broadcast reach, particularly in Asia. The SPN deal means that the J.League will now be broadcast in over 60 regions globally. Last season, the league was shown in 31 countries, seeing an increase in viewers, mainly in China and Thailand. The 2021 season is also broadcasted through networks in Indonesia via K-Vision and the Middle East North African (MENA) region through Dubai Sports.
Sony is trying to expand its presence in the world of football, especially in India, as it continues to add leagues and tournaments to its portfolio, it will be interesting to see if they could garner an audience and advertisers for the same. Currently, Sony is also the official broadcaster of Euro 2020 in India.
In May 2021, former Barcelona star Iniesta signed a two-year contract extension at J1 League outfit Vissel Kobe. He accepted the fresh terms that will now see him remain at the club till 2023.
The events such as Fuji Xerox Super Cup and YBC Levain Cup improved the competitiveness of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League and assisted Japan in generating football talents like Takumi Minamino, Shinji Kagawa, Yuto Nagatomo, and many more. Well-known players from Europe such as Lukas Podolski, Diego Forlan, Andres Iniesta, Hulk, and Jorginho have played in the league.