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MLS Creates Mobile Content Site in Japan

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NEW YORK Major League Soccer has created a mobile content site in Japan, the league's first in Asia and its initial digital foray outside the U.S., said a MLS representative.

"The goal is to increase the footprint of MLS and all of Soccer United Marketing's properties, including the Pan-Pacific Championship, in Asia," said the rep, who added that there is a strong appetite for soccer content in Japan.

Tokyo-based technology company MLJ, a digital content distributor, hosts the site.

The content includes news from the MLS site, including information about the league draft and all-star game, player biographies and interviews, game highlights and a photo gallery. MLJ has the exclusive rights to distribute this content through year's end.

The three Japanese phone carriers that will offer the content on handsets are KDDI, NTT Docomo and Softbank.

If the contract is renewed in 2009, future plans include having original content tailored to Japanese soccer fans, such as having MLS news columns written by Japanese journalists.

MLJ is also the official presenting sponsor of the Pan-Pacific Championship, the league's newest property, which is scheduled for Feb. 20 and 23 at Hawaii's Aloha Stadium. Gamba Osaka from Japan is one of the teams competing in the inaugural event. Other participants will include 2007 MLS Cup champion the Houston Dynamo, SuperLiga runner-up Los Angeles Galaxy and a finalist (yet to be determined) from Australia's Hyundai A-league.

MLS is developing new media plans for other countries, according to the rep, who did not elaborate.