The National Basketball Association is set to bolster its presence in Japan through a newly formed multiyear partnership with Rakuten and its various digital platforms.
Rakuten will sell NBA League Pass exclusively to Rakuten members in Japan through NBA.com, the NBA App and for purchase through Rakuten’s video-on-demand service, Rakuten TV. Rakuten will also sell a subscription package on Rakuten TV that includes access to nine games a week—one game per weekday and two games each on Saturdays and Sundays.
“We are very excited to partner with the NBA to bring all the action of the world’s top basketball league to fans in Japan,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, in a statement. “As we have recently announced that we are proud partners of the Golden State Warriors, the NBA’s reigning champions, it is an honor to expand our contributions to the global growth and development of basketball with this NBA partnership.”
“Our new relationship with Rakuten speaks to the appetite that our passionate fans in Japan have for live NBA games and content, and we look forward to working with Rakuten to provide the most comprehensive NBA coverage to date,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement.
For the NBA, the Rakuten deal marks an expansion of the league’s current availability in Japan. The NBA has been offering live games over the air in Japan for nearly 30 years.
For Rakuten, the deal extends across some its additional digital platforms, allowing the company to sell select NBA and team merchandise on its e-commerce channels globally, and offer NBA content to the more than 900 million users on Rakuten Viber, the company’s instant messaging platform.