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On the ball: Simmons scores largest broadcast deal in Japanese sports history

In $2bn deal, Simmons & Simmons has netted a lead role advising UK company Perform Group for the rights to broadcast the top tiers of Japanese football.

The 10 year deal, starting in 2017, will see Perform Group broadcast the top three divisions of the J.League on its internet TV platform, DAZN.

Simmons & Simmons head of Japan Richard Kramer on the deal, supported by a team of associates. The firm worked with local Tokyo law firm Socius Legal Servies with partner Kiyoshi Takahashi.

Kramer said: ‘We are delighted to have assisted Perform Group in achieving this first of its kind agreement, which will allow viewers to watch sport across a range of digital devices.’

J.League said the deal is the largest broadcasting deal in Japanese sports history, moving the football matches away from traditional linear broadcasting and into a new streaming service which can be watched on smartphones or tablets.

DAZN head of legal Sam Moorhouse said: ‘This historic 10 year rights agreement is part of our overall strategy to bring Japanese consumers the very best sports content. Simmons & Simmons played an instrumental role.’

Perform recently DAZN in Europe with the aim of broadcasting content from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, including matches from the English Premier League, La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy and Ligue 1 in France. It will also provide access to sports such including basketball, tennis and rugby.

Broadcasting deals remain lucrative work for law firms. Last year, DLA Piper technology and media partner Nick West won the trophy instruction for BT and Sky’s broadcasting rights for the Premier League, valued as more than £5.14bn over three years – valuing matches at £10m per game.

Player and manager contracts also keep firms with the necessary specialists busy, with Withers global sports group head Luca Ferrari recently advising manager Jürgen Klopp on his move to Liverpool in 2015, and his £15m contract extension in July this year.

For more on sports law see: ‘Good sports – the in-house counsel getting on the pitch in top-flight sports’.