3 reasons why Japan is the next attractive Sports Event Market



Pedro Bernardini, Sales & Marketing Manager at Major Events International shares his thoughts:


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1. Japan will host the Rugby World Cup 2019, the Tokyo Olympics & Paralympics 2020 and the Kansai World Masters Games 2021.


Major sporting events are often synonymous with political status, prestige, economic impact and excitement. With the world’s nations coming together for one special event and the possibility of wider economic effect – corporations from all over the world want a piece of the action. As Japan is hosting not 1 but 3 major sporting events, this Asian nation has suddenly become that much more attractive for those wishing to do business and Japan will be in the media a lot more as a result.



2. There is a multitude of procurement opportunities around the major sporting event market


With the Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 only 3 years away, it is imperative that companies explore market opportunities and visit the market to build relationships sooner rather than later. The nature of procurement opportunities in Japan is a lot different to the UK and London 2012. The main contracts at top level will go to Japanese companies as, logically, the procurement process tends to be in the Japanese language and under Japanese regulations (familiarity with the Earthquake regulation for example is of massive importance in the construction sector). Where UK companies will hope to get involved will be further down the supply chain typically, niche companies with a sports technology product, venue related technologies, lighting, fitting, fan-engagement, infrastructure & overlay and as always, security & resilience. These unique organisations will look to work alongside and support the primary Japanese contractors with their specialist practice and expertise.


As always, Security is a buzzword in every major sporting event and in Japan it will be no different. Special attention will be paid to cyber security as, according to Graham Davis, Executive Committee Member from the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, the Japanese organisers are ‘obsessed’ with avoiding any security issues and want the safety of the events to be fully under control. This emphasises the prospects that there are definitely opportunities for foreign security & resilience companies to extend capabilities in Japan and the UK are top dogs when it comes to security.


Additionally, organisers intend to change most signage to the English language due to the global attraction of the events in question. Translation services, marketing companies (to work alongside Dentsu Inc - Japan’s official marketing partner for the 2 events) and graphic design agencies will all be needed to carry out activities.


Though winning a supplier’s contract for a major sporting event is no easy feat, it is anticipated that there will be no shortage of procurement opportunities for UK based companies as the UK and Japan have signed an Olympic Cooperation Agreement which involves knowledge sharing on lessons learned from London 2012 in order to facilitate the delivery of the Tokyo Olympics. Consequently, it is only logical that the British companies that helped the London 2012 Games run so smoothly or those of similar capability are introduced to the Japanese Olympic stakeholders, thus giving Japan more confidence in doing business with UK companies.



3. Asia has a dynamic economy and it is easy to set up business in Japan


Asia has been an emerging and dynamic economy for a while and Japan is the 3rd strongest economy in the world and in the forefront of technology. In 2014, it made up 6% of the worlds GDP. According to UK Trade and Investment, there are many incentives to do business in Japan such as a stable economy, strong political ties between UK and Japan, highly educated consumers who are early adopters of new services and a market which is a great stepping stone for the rest of Asia. The Japanese are also well known for their globalised outlook on business and innovative business culture with strong IP protection laws in place.


All in all, with the Rugby World Cup 2019 only being 3 years away - the time is now to explore opportunities in Japan!



Major Events International will hold a briefing on Sports Business Opportunities in Japan in London on 29 June. To request an invitation please contact  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call +44 (0)207 073 2661. This briefing will also provide more information on MEI’s Japan Market visit in September 2016.

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