Up, down, up again: Japan's soccer-related stocks mirror Samurai Blue's performance

FILE PHOTO: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group E - Japan v Spain

By Nobuyo Saito

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese shares of soccer-related companies had a good day on Friday as they mirrored the national team's roller-coaster performance at the World Cup where the "Samurai Blue" delivered another shocking win, this time over global powerhouse Spain.

Having also beaten four-times champions Germany in their first match last week, Japan advances to the knockout round at the top of the table. It lost against Costa Rica on Sunday.

CyberAgent Inc, which has been streaming all of the World Cup matches on its Abema platform, was by far the Nikkei share average's best performer, surging 7.3% before ending up 3.95%. The benchmark Nikkei fell 1.59%.

Access to the company's streaming platform hit a record of more than 10 million the day Japan clinched a surprise victory over Germany. By the end of the second match against Costa Rica, the week's viewing on Abema had topped 30 million.

"With this latest match against Spain, we expect a new high for access numbers," said Sonoko Miyakawa, an investor relations official at CyberAgent.

Sportswear maker Mizuno Corp and British-style pub chain Hub Co, which are not listed on the Nikkei, gained 0.98% and 7.03%, respectively.

On Monday, a day after Japan's defeat, shares of CyberAgent fell 7.6%, Mizuno shed 3.7% and Hub tanked 17.5%, as fans lost hope of Japan advancing to the next round, with a formidable Spain as their final opponent.

A Mizuno spokesperson said sales of soccer boots in the 10 days through Dec. 1 more than doubled from the same period a year ago at its two directly owned stores and increased by 1.4 times online.

"We're especially fielding a lot of calls about the limited-edition soccer boots that the Samurai Blue are wearing," a Mizuho spokesperson said.

Pub operator Hub said COVID-19 could cloud comparisons against the last World Cup in 2018, but that "there's big hope riding" on the rest of the tournament.

(Reporting by Nobuyo Saito, additional reporting by Mayu Sakoda; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Arun Koyyur)