The Japan Sumo Association is likely to suffer about 1.4 billion yen in losses in the wake of the sumo match-rigging scandal, following the JSA decision to cancel one of its regular tournaments that make up the association's main sources of revenue.
The match-fixing scandal likely will cause great financial repercussions to the sumo world.
Several local organizations that had planned to hold regional tournaments that were canceled as a result of the scandal have moved to seek compensation for expenses they used to prepare for the tournaments, it was learned Tuesday.
Some companies have stopped airing TV commercials starring sumo wrestlers or are considering withdrawing sponsorships from the regular tournaments, moves that are expected to hurt the JSA and wrestlers in the pockets, observers said.
Most of the JSA's operating revenue comes from the six regular sumo tournaments held each year.
Of the JSA's 10.41 billion yen in recurring revenue, or predicted continuing annual revenue, the association registered 9.59 billion yen in operating revenue in the 2009 accounting year.
Income from regular tournaments in that year was 8.6 billion yen, more than 80 percent of operating revenue.
Simple calculations show that one regular tournament accounts for about 1.4 billion yen in operating revenue for the JSA, more than 10 percent of the association's annual total.
For its 2011 budget, the JSA estimated that operating profit from all regular tournaments would total 7.84 billion yen of the 8.75 billion yen full-year figure.
The JSA decided Sunday to cancel the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament scheduled for next month in Osaka. If the JSA cancels other regular tournaments, it would suffer an even greater financial blow, the observers said.
Meanwhile, salaries would be paid to wrestlers ranked above juryo division even if the tournament cancellations continued, sources said.
The JSA has appropriated about 3.63 billion yen in salaries for the 2011 budget. It would not be easy for the association to reduce such expenses, they said.
At the same time, the JSA's decision to cancel regional sumo tournaments caused repercussions nationwide.
A citizens' voluntary organization in Hokota, Ibaraki Prefecture, which was preparing for a regional sumo tournament that was to have taken place April 10 but later canceled, decided in a meeting Tuesday to issue ticket refunds and seek compensation for damages from the JSA.
According to the organization, it spent more than 5 million yen to make 700 posters and 45,000 leaflets and purchase 10 tons of sand for the sumo ring.
"As soon as we calculate the amount to demand from the JSA, we'll claim damages," said the organization's leader Katsumi Gunji, 61. Ticket refunds will start Wednesday, he said.
According to Shigeo Mogami, 61, a promoter of the Fujisawa Tournament that was scheduled to be held April 9 in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, damages caused by the cancelation of that tournament were estimated to range from 15 million yen to 20 million yen.
After a detailed examination of the organization's expected losses, he plans to hold talks on the matter with the JSA, he said.
Firms stop airing commercials
The JSA's sponsors have weighed in, using their financial leverage to register displeasure, including companies that have stopped airing TV commercials starring sumo wrestlers as the match-fixing scandal unfolded.
Some firms that have awarded prize money for victorious sumo wrestlers or advertised in sumo arenas are waiting to decide whether to stop sponsoring the sport.
On Monday, Fuji Xerox Co. stopped airing a TV commercial staring yokozuna Hakuho for its combination copier-fax machine--the day after the JSA decided to cancel the spring sumo tournament.
Fuji Xerox stopped airing the Hakuho commercial only 16 days after it began. "All we can say is it [the scandal] is just unfortunate," a Fuji Xerox PR official said.
Sumitomo Forestry Co. also halted airing a TV commercial staring Hakuho and other wrestlers.
Meanwhile, Hakata Salt Mfg. Inc., which has sold salt sprinkled by wrestlers to purify the sumo ring at regular tournaments held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena in Tokyo, said it received an anonymous e-mail that said, "Stop providing the salt [to the sumo arena]." The company said it would decide how to deal with the matter after monitoring the situation.
Snack maker Natori Co., whose company name has been featured on costumes worn at sumo tournaments for about 50 years, withdrew from participation at July's Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament when the sumo world was rocked by a scandal over illegal betting on professional baseball games.