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Fuji TV cashing in on post-World Cup fever

Japanese net skeds fall broadcasts

TOKYO — Major Japanese network Fuji TV plans to broadcast Italy’s Serie A Soccer League this fall in order to cash in on the aftereffects of World Cup fever.

Fuji TV has been in discussions with Italy’s pubcaster RAI about bringing one of Europe’s premier soccer leagues to Japan.

A formal announcement is expected in about a week, but Fuji TV will probably pick up a few games for broadcast and package highlights into a digest show. Italian soccer league games are currently available on home direct satellite broadcast platforms in Japan.

Another major factor for brining the Italian league to network TV in Japan is to show games with Japanese star Hidetoshi Nakata. Nakata is the second player from the country to make it to Serie A and his debut in Italy is expected to be one of the highest-rated foreign sports program of the year in Japan.

In recent years, ratings numbers for Japanese sports staples such as sumo and Japanese pro baseball have been slipping, but soccer has proven a hot commodity.

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