Japanese basketball runs to sponsors, Ko ...

Japanese basketball runs to sponsors, Korean basketball runs from sponsors

Oct 03, 2023

On August 8, a significant announcement appeared on the Japan Basketball Association (JBA) website. It was a notification that SoftBank Group, Japan's largest tech company, had given the Japanese men's national basketball team 100 million yen (about $980 million) in compensation. The JBA said the money will be used to reward players and staff of Japan's men's national team, which competed in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in August and September, as well as to strengthen the team.

● SoftBank to give Japan's men's basketball team $1 billion... and rush to attract sponsors

Japan's national team finished the Basketball World Cup in 19th place after winning three games in the group stage and the standings, defeating Finland, Venezuela, and Cape Verde. They didn't make it to the round of 16, but even in the games they did lose, they showed they were more competitive, facing off against powerhouses like Germany and Australia. South Korea didn't even qualify.

Japan was the highest-ranked Asian nation at the World Cup, qualifying for next year's Olympic Games in Paris. The Japanese basketball community is in a festive mood after qualifying for the Olympic Games 48 years after the 1976 Montreal Games. Following their strong showing at the Tokyo Olympics (where they automatically qualified as the host nation), the World Cup will also see them close the gap on the world level, furthering the JBA's goal of reaching the world quarterfinals in 2030, the 100th anniversary of their founding.

SoftBank was quick to respond. SoftBank has been an official sponsor of the JBA since 2016. Since then, it has also sponsored the men's and women's national teams and the B.League (Japan Professional Basketball). At the time of the sponsorship deal, before the B.League was launched in February 2016, the Japanese media reported that the amount of support would be 12.5 billion yen (approximately 112 billion won) over four years. Despite basketball's relative lack of popularity in Japan compared to baseball and soccer, the league has been able to maintain its sponsorship deal at such an exorbitant amount, and it's another big, single shot of support.

In the run-up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Japanese basketball has been inundated with sponsorship deals as both the men's and women's national teams' performances have skyrocketed. JBA signed a sponsorship deal with McDonald's Japan in March of this year. In May, it signed a sponsorship deal with Toppan, a Japanese global printing, packaging, and digital solutions company. In early July, it signed a sponsorship deal with Mitsui Sumitomo Trust and Banking Group, one of Japan's three largest banks.

Official sponsors currently supporting the Japanese national basketball team. Most of them are big names.

In late July, Jordan Brand, an independent brand under Nike, became a new sponsor. Jordan Brand sponsors the national basketball teams of France, Croatia, and Slovenia, but Japan is the first Asian country to come on board. Jordan Brand also announced plans to support the JBA's Winter Cup, Junior One-Two Cup, and national mini-basketball tournaments, as well as contribute to the overall development of basketball culture in Japan. Currently, the JBA has about 14 sponsors, and it is expected that two or three more leading Japanese companies will become sponsors by next year's Paris Olympics, according to Japanese media.

Nike ends sponsorship deal with Korea's national basketball team... "Not because of cost cutting"

Conversely, the Korea Basketball Association ended its sponsorship deal with Nike in December last year. According to basketball officials familiar with the situation, it was a natural termination of the agreement due to differences between the two sides, but in reality, Nike had withdrawn its sponsorship.

After the Korean men's basketball team won the gold medal at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, Nike signed a sponsorship deal with the KBA the following year and provided cash and supplies until last year. The KBA was struggling financially in 2002 without a major sponsor, and Nike's arrival provided a breathing space to support the national team. Until the deal ended in December, Nike provided 500 million won worth of in-kind support and 100 million won in cash annually.

Nike's decision to end its 20-year sponsorship of the national team was reportedly due to the fact that the company no longer felt the need to support the KBA. "Men's basketball is not competitive even in Asia, and there was no effort on the part of the basketball association to set specific goals and training plans for the national team to improve its international competitiveness," said a basketball player familiar with the contract negotiations. "They were just sitting on their hands and saying, 'We'll get the results,'" he said. "As time went on, there was a growing perception within Nike that the federation didn't value its sponsorship partners."

Furthermore, Nike's sponsorship of the national team has been criticized whenever there are shortages of equipment for the players. In fact, Nike is a major global sports company that spends more than 20 billion won a year on the Korean Football Association. Most basketball players know that Nike can't be blamed for the shortages. Nike didn't sign a new contract with the KBA to save money. In many ways, Nike just didn't see the need to be a sponsor of the Korean National Basketball Team." The KBA ended its sponsorship deal with Nike in December last year and only signed a sponsorship deal with Prospex in September this year. The current sponsors of the KBA are KBank, Prospex, and Yoohan Bank. 스포츠토토맨

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