Our City By Peter Trambley 866 Views

How the Raptors can connect better with their Japanese fanbase

Basketball in Japan is already at its turning point with more attention being given to the sport. During the 2019 NBA Draft, Rui Hachimura got selected by the Washington Wizards and has since established himself as a regular starter.

Also, Yuta Watanabe, who started his playing career with the Memphis Grizzlies, now has a contract with the Toronto Raptors. All these in addition to how the Japanese basketball team fared at the Olympics, providing several exciting moments, shows just how much the basketball community in the country is increasing. In a few years, it will be essential to promote the growing Japanese basketball culture.

In Canada, there is no shortage of diverse cultures, and this allows sports fans the freedom to support different players from different races and cultural backgrounds. In fact, there is the liberty to enjoy as many recreational activities as legally possible such as online slots Canada. Therefore, promoting the NBA to their Japanese fanbase should be something the team is keen on accomplishing.

In March, the NBA announced that the Raptors and Watanabe ranked first in the standings of team goods and player jerseys sold. While it would be difficult to walk the streets of Japan and find someone wearing a Raptors jersey, however, during the just-concluded Olympics, many Japanese fans were spotted cheering the national team in a Raptors jersey.

It is apparent that Watanabe’s influence has become economic too.

In the future, aside from the profits to be gotten from the sale of these pre-existing franchise goods, it would be great to develop products that were specifically targeted for the Japanese market. Imagine having Japanese-style designs and kanji characters on Raptors’ merchandise. This would greatly attract and excite the Japanese fanbase.

Apart from being an additional source of revenue for the franchise, it would go a long way in building a strong emotional connection between the team and their international fanbase. Thus, paving the way for future fandom, increased interest in the sport, scouting, players, tournaments, and collaborations.

However, the best way to promote these major attractions of the Raptors to their Japanese fanbase would be in Japanese.

For years now, the LA Lakers and the Golden State Warriors have had the most dominant NBA fanbase in Japan. The major difference in popularity between these two teams and the rest, including the Raptors, probably originates from language differences.

Currently, there is little or no information about the NBA in Japanese. So, getting information about major superstars like Steph Curry and LeBron James is quite effortless, but outside of that, fans who understand very little English struggle to get any other information about other teams.

Fortunately, with tools like social media, spreading information overseas is now much easier and can be done quickly. All the Raptors have to do is emulate the Washington Wizards who have a Japanese Twitter account and create content specifically for the Japanese audience.

The Raptors must strike now while the iron is hot, especially since they are already an established leader in the globalization of the NBA.


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