The women’s soccer boom in Japan helped bolster the broadcast revenues of Portugal’s Algarve Women’s Football Cup by 30 percent and significantly increased its international profile, its organizers say.
Japanese sports goods and toy makers plastered the Algarve Stadium with advertising for the final on March 7, which Japan lost 4-3 to Germany, and Fuji Television Network aired live despite the kick-off starting 10 p.m. Japan Time.
In the wake of Nadeshiko Japan’s victory at the Women’s World Cup last summer, there has been a surge of interest in the formerly neglected sport in Japan.
According to the Portuguese Football Federation, which organizes the Algarve Cup, only two local Portuguese TV networks aired the global invitational tournament in 2011.
This year, another Portuguese TV network, a French sports channel, and two Japanese networks, including Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc., which aired the game between Japan and Norway, boosted broadcast rights revenue by nearly a third.
Japan participated for the first time in 2011 after Germany pulled out. Roughly 80 reporters and cameramen applied for press passes at the time and only one freelance photojournalist was from the Japanese media.
This year, however, the number of media personnel covering the event rose to about 130. Japanese journalists accounted for most of that increase.
Overseas media outlets also showed interest in Nadeshiko Japan. Three media outlets, including a Swedish TV network, sought individual interviews with Nadeshiko Japan midfielder and former captain Homare Sawa, who won the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award in 2011 and currently plays for INAC Kobe Leonessa.
The Algarve Cup began in 1994 at the request of northern European nations that couldn’t hold matches until spring due to heavy snow. By inviting powerful teams like the U.S. and Germany, the tournament has gained an international profile.
A PR official with the Portuguese Football Federation says: “The participation of Japan, which won the Women’s World Cup last year, has helped bolster name recognition of the tournament.”
The organizers plan to invite Japan again next year, and are considering inviting the world’s fourth-ranked team, Brazil, for the first time next year.
- « Prev
- Next »