See the original story in Japanese.
Tokyo-based startup 7th heaven&Co. officially released a new mobile app for fans of Japanese League (J. League) soccer teams called Joooy (pronounced simply ‘Joy’). The app is available for iOS for free on the iTunes App Store.
Joooy’s features include news curated from over 3,000 media sources in Japan specialized for the teams you support, chat rooms where people who are fans of the same teams can communicate, and and a friend request system to connect fans to one another.
Until now, team supporters typically would gather at bars or diners near the stadiums in real life while they were dispersed and disconnected from each other online because their communication channel is not centralized but rather varied, such as Facebook or popular mobile chat app Line. By constructing Joooy as a place where the opinions of Japanese soccer fans and those of actual team managers can interact, 7th heaven&Co. wants to be the de facto presence in the field. By getting involved with Japan’s soccer clubs, we can also expect there will be interaction between participating players and fans in the future.
7th heaven&Co. was co-founded by CEO Hiroki Tenjo and managing director Yoshitaka Nomoto.
Tenjo played soccer from elementary school through high school with dreams of playing professionally in Japan. After graduating from high school, he then decided he wanted to be a musician and made his debut as the frontman of a band. His band toured in China and Taiwan, even managing to draw a crowd of 40,000 in Taiwan as one of the most popular punk bands from Japan. Nomoto, who also has participated in Japan’s inter‐high school competition as a soccer player, has been a radio DJ, and has also been involved in producing TV shows and events. Most recently he has been involved in planning the establishment of Ponpare, a group-buying site by Japanese internet company Recruit.
What the two have in common is their experience as young boys engrossed in soccer, and the hope to add even more excitement to the Japanese pro soccer league.
Hiroki Tenjo explains in a press release:
With the Premier League and other leagues that open at the same time as the J. League, the business scale and level of excitement that vastly exceeds the J. League is something that is often boasted about. We think that this fact isn’t derived just from the culture gap or the market potential for soccer business between the the UK, the Mecca of soccer, and Japan. We think that the cause of this is the weak relations between supporters and club teams (indirectly localized marketing). […] We’ve created a place where, based on the state of soccer in Japan, clubs and supporters can get connected and form closer bonds, and fans can openly express their feelings and thoughts about soccer. We’ve begun offering our ‘lifestyle communication app’ for fans with our future mission to build foundation of regional support through soccer.
Joooy is being offered as a free app, however they are currently considering ten or more different monetizations methods, including ad placement on each different club’s news feed. As for hardcore fans, touring from stadium to stadium in support of your team can be costly, but it’s possible that, through Joooy, something like a ‘sharing economy service’ between fans could be created.
7th heaven&Co. is aiming to have two million app downloads for Joooy within a year from now.
Translated by Connor Kirk