LaLiga builds Asia presence with J. League extension and China project
Spanish soccer’s top-tier LaLiga has extended its collaboration agreement with Japan’s J. League and relaunched a sports development programme in China to strengthen its ties in Asia.
The memorandum of understanding agreement with the J. League has been renewed until 2023 and means the two competitions will continue a relationship which was first formed in 2017.
As part of the extended tie-up, LaLiga and the Japanese top-flight will work together on “numerous strategies to improve the day-to-day management of Japanese competitions” including knowledge-sharing around broadcast innovations and OTT.
Ivan Codina, LaLiga’s managing director for Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea and Australia, said: "One of the areas we focus a lot on is digital and social media, particularly how we reach and connect with our audience.
"We are working on expanding the message of both leagues."
Takeyuki Oya, the general director of the international department of the J. League, added: “For us, LaLiga is one of the best in the world. We wanted to exchange communication that would help us to learn and at the same time, we shared our knowledge with them.”
Both LaLiga and the J. League share a media rights partner in the country in DAZN, the international over-the-top streaming platform, which according to the top Spanish league, "gives greater strength to this alliance."
Oya explained: “We also promote LaLiga through the [rights] partner we share. We can communicate with LaLiga fans in Japan and attract them to the J. League and vice versa.”
Developing a strong presence in Asia is one of the strategic objectives in LaLiga’s internationalisation strategy and the league has also announced it will be resuming training projects and national team camps in China.
The programmes are led by Spanish coaches who will be part of a new project known as Mantianxing.
The aim of the project is to promote educational centres in the country through soccer.
LaLiga first launched the programme in 2015 in collaboration with the Chinese government.
In the coming months, LaLiga will incorporate coaches in different training centres selected by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The coaches will be spread across 15 cities including the capital Beijing.
In addition, LaLiga also has agreements with the Chinese Super League and the Chinese Football Association to "share the resources that help the sport grow."
LaLiga said "with television viewership on the rise in China, the passion that is fostered through LaLiga youth training will help ensure the long-term sustainability of the game."
China is a key market for LaLiga and has two offices in the country in Beijing and Shanghai.
LaLiga has a total of 11 international offices, with other operations in London (UK), Dubai (UAE), Johannesburg (South Africa), New York (USA), Lagos (Nigeria), New Delhi (India), Singapore, Brussels (Belgium), and Mexico City.