The Japanese professional football league said it intends to provide financial support and guidance to some of the nation’s top-10 soccer clubs to potentially pursue initial public offerings.
(Bloomberg) — The Japanese professional football league said it intends to provide financial support and guidance to some of the nation’s top-10 soccer clubs to potentially pursue initial public offerings.
J-League is prepared to offer the assistance to those clubs that are competitive, popular and well managed, Corporate Executive Officer Yoshinori Aokage said in an interview. He didn’t elaborate on the potential help that could be provided.
Foreign investors have expressed interest in taking stakes in Japanese clubs but one hurdle is the difficulty of selling any holdings at a later time, he said.
The 30-year old J-League decided to allow clubs to list on the stock exchange in February last year as it sought to rejuvenate the business as sponsorship revenue declined and games were disrupted by the Covid pandemic.
“Until now there has been no exit path for investors who want to invest in soccer clubs,” Aokage said. “With the lift of the ban for listing, they can now formulate a strategy for the future.”
J-League sees the Japanese national team’s strong performance at the Qatar World Cup, when it won matches against Spain and Germany, as boosting the appeal of the sport for investors.
Publicly listed football clubs in Europe such Juventus Football Club SpA and Borussia Dortmund GmbH have shown that the approach is viable for the sport.
Two teams in the Japanese league are mulling the idea of going public, according to a person familiar with the matter. J-League spokesman Kentaro Nakamura declined to comment on this.
To be sure, Aokage said not all of the top-10 J-League clubs currently meet the criteria for listing. He didn’t provide more details.
Urawa Red Diamonds was Japan’s top-ranked team in terms of sales last fiscal year, with 8.1 billion yen ($55 million).
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.