On the upper left hand corner of the Golden State Warriors’ new Nike jerseys, one will find a small red circle with a white “R” inside and “Rakuten” spelled out beneath.
That logo represents the partnership between the Warriors and Rakuten, which will also have Viber be the team’s Official Messaging and Calling App partner.
Now, Rakuten is taking on a bigger role within the NBA as the league announced a multiyear partnership, making the Japanese e-commerce company the NBA’s exclusive distribution partner for all NBA games and global marketing partner in Japan.
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This NBA season, Rakuten will offer NBA League Pass exclusively to Rakuten members in Japan via NBA.com, the NBA app and for purchase through Rakuten’s video-on-demand service — Rakuten TV. There will also be a subscription package offered on Rakuten TV that will provide fans with access to up to nine games a week — one game on weekdays and two 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,” Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, Inc., said 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.”
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NBA team merchandise will also be available on Rakuten’s e-commerce channels and Rakuten Viber, Rakuten’s instant messing platform, will be used as an official league platform.
According to USA Today, the partnership will result in the NBA getting paid more than $225 million during the span on the contract.
“Rakuten is one of the world’s most innovative companies and an ideal partner for the NBA,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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.”