LaLiga builds on Japan links with Sportsnavi; Barca expand ecommerce footprint
Spanish soccer’s LaLiga has today announced a tie-up with Sportsnavi, the prominent Japanese sports website, to be its first official media partner in the Far East country.
Under the agreement, Sportsnavi will provide regular updates on the league, and stories on the clubs and their players, for fans in the Japanese language.
Early content features will include a documentary on the progress of young Japanese international Takefusa Kubo (pictured) who has been playing for LaLiga club Real Mallorca, on loan from Real Madrid, this season.
The initial deal runs to the end of 2020, with options to renew for subsequent years.
LaLiga has had a delegation in Japan since 2017, and in the past year has closed regional sponsorship deals with the likes of Sony Bank and travel agency HIS, while continuing to support local competitions such as the men’s J.League and women’s Nadeshiko League and building up its presence on social media platforms including Twitter and Line.
Clubs with close links to the market include defending champions and current leaders Barcelona, whose main sponsor is Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten.
Rubén González, LaLiga delegate in Japan, said: “Joining together with Sportsnavi will allow us to reach a larger number of fans. Reaching them through one of the most important outlets in Japan’s media landscape, and doing so in their language, will give us a great boost in generating more interest and knowledge around LaLiga.”
Manabu Yamada, the chief executive of Sportsnavi, added: “We're extremely excited to partner with one of the most popular and influential sports organizations like LaLiga. With LaLiga's rich history combined with its strong commitment for the new media, there are many stories to be told on daily basis and we're glad we can play a significant role to share them with fans in Japan.”
The 2019-20 LaLiga season has been suspended since March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but there are hopes of a restart on 12 June.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have today extended the operation of their new e-commerce platform across Europe.
The online store, which went live in Spain on 7 May, is now available in 30 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
The platform is being operated by Barca Licensing and Merchandising, a newly-created company, after the Spanish giants regained control of rights in these areas from US sportswear giant Nike, which remains the club’s kit supplier.
More than 7,000 products are available, including shirts from exclusive collections, with delivery times outside Spain ranging from three to five days.
Elsewhere, Herbalife, the international nutritional products brand, has extended its shirt sponsorship deal with Atlético Madrid’s women’s team, one of Spain’s top sides, until 2023.
The new three-year deal builds on an association which dates back to 2017, with Herbalife serving as the main partner.
Herbalife, which has strong links with women’s soccer, will retain branding on the front of the Atlético Femenino shirts and remain a consultant and nutrition provider for the squad.
Atlético finished second, behind champions Barcelona, in Spain’s Liga Iberdrola in the 2019-20 season, which was curtailed as a result of the pandemic.