SEPTEMBER 1, 2017
We’re now two-thirds of the way through the 2017 J.League season and it’s been a great campaign on and off the pitch so far. It’s DAZN’s inaugural season as host broadcaster and this year J.League fans have been able to watch more J1, J2 and J3 games live and on-demand than ever before. Japanese fans are absolutely thrilled with the revolutionary changes they’ve been treated to, with improved production standards, highlights packages and more games than ever before.
And our offering doesn’t stop there! We’re giving fans bolder and better content across our social media channels as well, so they can feel even closer to their favourite teams and footballing heroes. Here’s a snapshot of some the most popular features that we’ve been released to this point.
Pitchside is a completely new and revolutionary segment that has never been seen before in sports production of this kind. The feature is pretty self-explanatory, with Pitchside footage of the matches provided for DAZN users. For the first time, fans have behind the scenes coverage of their heroes and can get a real idea of how footballers prepare before, during and after a top-level football match. Fans are going crazy for this fly-on-the-wall style footage, and it has been one of the most successful new features we’ve brought in this year.
That’s enough from me, it’s time for the footage itself to do the talking, as we followed our cameraman Atushi filming at the recent Cezero Osaka – Kashima Antlers game. We meet Atushi as he is preparing to film players from both sides on arrival at the ground prior to the match. It is no wonder this feature has been particularly popular with our fans, our cameramen are extremely dedicated to getting the best possible shots before, during and after the game and will go to extreme lengths to do so!
The hat-trick challenge is also something completely unseen before. We’ve had the crossbar challenge, but we felt that was a bit boring and decided to up the ante a little and really test the J.League players! We ask the players from across J1, J2 and J3 leagues to take part in our three part shooting challenge, with the objective to strike both posts and the crossbar with the three designated shots. The Hat-Trick Challenge has been our highest performing content to date, with the engagement rate (the number of times a user has interacted with a tweet) amongst fans almost double of any other post!
We’ve had players such as Ryōhei Yamazaki from Albirex Niigata, Kosuke Oto from FC Tokyo and Arai Ichiyoh from Yokohama Marinos take on the challenge to this point, and it continues to be a weekly feature across the season.
One of the biggest talking points of the season to this point has to be the breaking of a world record in the J2 league. Japanese footballing stalwart Kazuyoshi Miura coolly slotted home his first goal of the season for Yokohama FC at the ripe old age of 50! We absolutely love this guy, and you can tell from some of his rather dodgy dance moves that he’s a bit of a character.
On the pitch, with only 12 games left, the J.League season have proved as competitive as ever. Last year’s champions Kashima Antlers are once more leading the way, setting the pace with 52 points from their opening 24 games.Yokohama Marinos are hot on their tails after a 13 match unbeaten streak, with Kawasaki Frontale and Kashiwa Reysol completing the top four. At the other end of the table, it’s looking pretty bleak for Albirex Niigata, who so far have only managed to pick up two wins from their first 24 games, managing a lowly return of just 15 goals to this point. They are just below Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Omiya Ardija who will be hoping for a significant improvement if they are to remain in the division.
On top of all of the action on the pitch, World Cup winning German striker Lukas Podolski recently joined the J.League, signing for Vissel Kobe from Galatasaray in July. The season is starting to reach boiling point, and you can watch the thrilling conclusion live on DAZN in Japan.