Tokyo, June 11, 2019 - Rakuten, Inc., a global leader in internet services, today announced the launch of Rakuten Sports. This new live streaming, video on demand (VOD) sports entertainment platform provided by Rakuten will deliver sports content to a global audience.
Rakuten Sports provides viewers with Meiji Yasuda J1 League matches from the 2019 season both live and on demand. The service’s content portfolio, currently centered on soccer, also features the original series Iniesta TV, which follows the international soccer star Andrés Iniesta who plays for the Rakuten Group’s J.League soccer club, Vissel Kobe. Rakuten has partnered with Lagardère Sports, the international media rights distributor of Japan’s professional football league, to distribute 2019 season J.League matches to fans in more than 140 countries and regions worldwide, excluding Japan and select regions.*1 The new service is designed to appeal to soccer fans in Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and other countries in Southeast Asia, where the popularity of the sport is on the rise and the J.League’s fan base is steadily growing.
“Rakuten believes in the power of sport to transcend language and cultural barriers – a power that connects people and creates communities,” said Makoto Arima, Rakuten Group Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer and President of Rakuten’s Media & Sports Company. “We are delighted to deliver the joy of sports to people around the world, which is why Rakuten has worked alongside our partners to bring a diverse lineup of sports initiatives to life. Rakuten Sports represents an important part of this mission. We hope to contribute to the continued growth of the J.League by sharing what the league has to offer with soccer fans around the world."
Masaaki Kimura, Senior Managing Director of the J.League (Japan Professional Football League) said, "It is our genuine pleasure to hear that Rakuten Sports will distribute Meiji Yasuda J1 League matches worldwide via their platform in the 2019 season. In addition to the international superstars like Andrés Iniesta and Fernando Torres playing in the league, we feel the growing global interest towards our league. We hope to have a positive synergy with Rakuten Sports and make the league become more attractive for all sports fans around the world to enjoy."
In addition to soccer, Rakuten Sports plans to add to its offerings by introducing basketball, table tennis and other sports in the future. Going forward, the sports entertainment platform also plans to introduce new user engagement capabilities that will allow global sports fans to interact with the content while communicating with other sports fans in new, innovative ways. Rakuten aims to contribute to the further empowerment of the global sports community by distributing sports-based content that appeals to fans around the world.
*1 J.League games are viewable worldwide, except in the following countries and regions: Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chad, China, Croatia, Djibouti, Egypt, FYR Macedonia, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Mauritania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Korea, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States and Yemen. Iniesta TV is viewable worldwide (internet access required).
Overview of Rakuten Sports
Name: Rakuten Sports
Service launch: June 11, 2019
Service description: Rakuten Sports is a live streaming, video on demand service that distributes sports content to a global audience.
Content portfolio: Live streaming and video on demand matches from the Meiji Yasuda J1 League 2019 season (3 matches per round), Iniesta TV and more
*J.League matches are viewable in more than 140 countries and regions worldwide, excluding the following:
Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chad, China, Croatia, Djibouti, Egypt, FYR Macedonia, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Mauritania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Korea, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States and Yemen
** Rakuten Sports will continue to expand its content portfolio going forward.
Supported devices: Rakuten Sports is viewable on smart TVs, computers, smartphones, tables and devices that are able to connect to the internet.
Supported languages: English
About Rakuten Sports
Rakuten Sports is a global live streaming, video on demand and community platform that powers live sports matches from the top leagues and teams from around the world, with exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews and special footage from world-class athletes. Reaching fans across multiple devices, including desktop, mobile, and tablet, Rakuten Sports is a premier sports entertainment service of Rakuten.
About Lagardère Sports
Lagardère Sports is a leading sport marketing agency, with a global network of local experts dedicated to delivering innovative solutions that meet our clients’ needs. We believe sport inspires emotions and passion that are essential to enrich people’s lives and generate powerful collective experiences. At Lagardère Sports, we dedicate our expertise and passion to provide our clients with privileged access to the infinite opportunities of sports. Lagardère Sports is part of Lagardère Sports and Entertainment, a company with more than 1,700 employees worldwide and 50 years of experience.
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1.2 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has over 17,000 employees, and operations in 30 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.