1) NHK drops its coverage. NHK pays the JSA 2.5 billion yen annually for broadcasting rights. NHK has probably wanted to drop the live broadcast for years now, given its low ratings. If NHK drops the live broadcast rights, they may renegotiate for just a digest, like what they did last July. Otherwise, a private broadcasting corporation may buy the rights, but it will be for a much lower bid.
2) The Japanese government repeals JSA’s standing as a public-interest corporation. Mombusho officials, Diet members, cabinet members, and Prime Minister Kan himself have all commented on this already. JSA can lose its public-interest corporation status, which means corporate taxes will jump from 22 percent to 30 percent. It doesn’t end there. The “home of sumo in Tokyo,” the Kokugikan in Ryogoku, is a free loaner from the government to the JSA. JSA will have to relocate, or start paying rent for the facility. No preferential treatment will be given for neither the Association, nor for the heyas.
3) Sponsors will back out. They already are. Nothing on the yobidashi’s backs. No flags carried around the ring before important bouts and Takamisakari bouts. No prize money. No gifts for the yusho champion. The bubble-era “Supporter Clubs” are nothing today what they used to be. They’ll disappear. What does this mean? No money for the rikishi. No money for the heya. No money for the JSA.
4) Will the fans still come? Without NHK, without public-interest corporation status, with less sponsors, what does that mean for the fans if the JSA wants to continue as it is? Higher admission prices. Higher prices on the already costly merchandise. Will the fans come? Maybe the yakuza can still afford it, as well as the old guy in the gold top hat. Forget about the kids on school trips. Forget about the bus loads of French tourists. Forget about the under-60 crowd; you’ve already thrown them under the bus anyhow. Forget about the young Japanese boys aspiring to join professional sumo. They’re long gone, playing video games and buying face glitter.
5) Law suits. Might be a minor point given this is Japan, but still worth mentioning. There have been former rikishi for decades who’ve claimed the JSA runs rampant with bout-fixing, then these rikishi were dispelled, discredited, and publicly ridiculed. Many have taken their claims to court, and lost against the mighty JSA. They’ll come back with lawyers, and others who’ve never spoken up out of fear will join them. The JSA better assemble a hell of a legal team. It looks as if they’ll need it. And where will the money come from for this?
I can’t make a prediction as to what’s going to happen. It’s still too early. At this point, a big “way to go” to the JSA, to Commish Hanaregoma, and to the bout-fixing rikishi who will ruin it for everyone. Great sport run by a group of complete dimwits.