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Rakuten launches sports OTT service

New service is available in 140 countries worldwide

Rakuten has announced the launch of a new sports streaming service.

Rakuten Sports launches today in 140 countries, including Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The streamer’s first content as matches from Japan’s Meiji Yasuda J1 League which will be available both live and on demand. The company said initially its content will focus on football, and will include original series Iniesta TV, which follows footballer Andrs Iniesta who plays for the Rakuten Groups J.League soccer club, Vissel Kobe.

“Rakuten believes in the power of sport to transcend language and cultural barriers, a power that connects people and creates communities”, said Makoto Arima, president of Rakuten’s Media and Sports Company. “We are delighted to deliver the joy of sports to people around the world, which is why Rakuten has worked alongside our partners to bring a diverse lineup of sports initiatives to life. Rakuten Sports represents an important part of this mission. We hope to contribute to the continued growth of the J.League by sharing what the league has to offer with soccer fans around the world.”

In addition to football, Rakuten said it plans to introduce basketball, table tennis and other sports in the future. It also plans to introduce “new user engagement capabilities that will allow global sports fans to interact with the content while communicating with other sports fans in new, innovative ways.”