Warriors-Wizards games in Japan to woo NBA fans, sponsors

 Japanese basketball fans will get to see NBA stars up close when the reigning league-champion Golden State Warriors take on the Washington Wizards in two preseason games.

Not surprisingly, Stephen Curry and Japanese-born Rui Hachimura will be the star attractions for each team.

And as clearly as the logo of Japanese online retailer Rakuten is splashed on Curry’s jersey, big money is riding on the NBA’s most recent foray into Japan.

Junya Ogura, senior manager at Japanese automaker Nissan’s brand and media strategy department, thinks it’s all worth it, given the NBA’s strong appeal to the younger generation, a trend that’s backed up by marketing studies.

Nissan Motor Co., which sponsors Japanese professional baseball and soccer, had a high-profile deal with tennis superstar Naomi Osaka which recently ended. This is the first time it’s sponsoring NBA games.

The tickets cost up to 420,000 yen ($2,900) each for courtside “VIP” seats. Both Friday and Sunday games are sold out at the Saitama Super Arena

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