Implementing a Professional Football League in Japan - Challenges to Research in International Business

Dolles, Harald GND; Söderman, Sten GND

In this exploratory research, we will place professional football in Japan in the context of the global spread of the football business. When, in the late 1980s, the idea of a professional football league started to materialize in Japan (the so called JLeague), foundation committee members extensively studied professional sports models in the USA and Europe, finally deciding on a model tailored to their preferences. By taking the implementation as well as the immediate and sustainable success of the J-League during their first decade as a neglected research example, we will challenge existing assumptions about “the game” in Europe with the institutional arrangements, various interests, and parties involved in the practice and consumption of football in Japan. This might shed light – also with reference to other industries - on the conditions as well as the necessities for adjustments of transferring institutional and organizational practices abroad.