Rakuten has partnered with the National Basketball Association (NBA) for exclusive distribution of live games in Japan as well as international marketing activities.
The deal will see Rakuten offer the NBA League Pass (a premium subscription service) to Rakuten members in Japan via NBA.com, an official NBA app and a video-on-demand service. Through a Rakuten TV subscription package, fans will be able to watch nine games per week.
In a statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver called Rakuten “one of the world’s most innovative companies and an ideal partner for the NBA”. The company is also a sponsor of the Golden State Warriors, a deal it signed in September.
Rakuten will sell NBA merchandise, and that of its teams, on its domestic and international ecommerce channels. Its Viber instant messenger will also serve as an official content distribution platform for the NBA and its teams.
The NBA has been present in Japan for nearly 30 years. Rakuten is also a sponsor of FC Barcelona.