The Business of Rugby

Oct. 14, 2016

With preparations for the Rugby World Cup 2019 well underway, the BCCJ co-hosted "The Business of Rugby" on 11 October 2016 - an event held in association with the Irish Japan Chamber of Commerce and the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan at a brand new venue, “Tri 7 Roppongi”, located in Tokyo's upscale Midtown district.

The CEO of World Rugby, Brett Gosper spoke to BCCJ members and guests on various topics ranging from the evolution of rugby to the business of sport in the modern era to Japan's plan for the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in 2019.

Japan 2019

Addressing the challenges for the RWC to be held in Tokyo in 2019, Gosper said "it's exciting to take the RWC out of its comfort zone." Challenges for Japan in organising such a large-scale event, he said, include broadcasting logistics, roles and opportunities for member companies in the run-up to RWC 2019, linguistic and cultural differences, the role of the community, and ideas on how to fill stadiums. "Taking RWC to Japan was a bold decision, but it's thrilling."

The speaker said that England 2015 would be "hard to beat" as it was a 'record breaking' event, but added enthusiastically that "we can expect Japan 2019 to be ground breaking!" Indeed, 90% of the revenues achieved in England 2015 are expected for Japan, considerably more than NZ 2011. "It's going to be huge World Cup!" said Gosper.

Gosper indicated that RWC is keen to sign deals as soon as possible, and that most sponsors are already close to signature.

Why rugby?

Gosper emphasised that the game of rugby provides a unifying spirit that transcends cultural, geographic, political and religious differences. Enthusiasts have passion for the game, and the sport generates excitement, emotional attachment and a sense of belonging to the global rugby family.

The speaker highlighted that profits from RWC will be invested into developing grass roots rugby and to promoting its core values among players and communities. "Rugby still has values in the pro game which have stayed with it from the amateur days. It develops character and life skills, respect and integrity."

Women's rugby

In Japan 10% of all registered rugby players are women. "Rugby is becoming increasingly popular among women - this welcome development is something World Rugby wishes to promote and actively support," said Gosper.

Delivering the event

The speaker confirmed that the team was checking on the progress of event delivery this week. He emphasised the importance of knowledge-share between former and future host countries, but also stressed the importance of finding local solutions and embracing fresh ideas by talking with community groups.

"World Rugby has delivered eight World Cups. We naturally want to give advice but we want Japan to do it their way. It's all about balance."



Positioned at the heart of sport, business, government and community, the BCCJ's Global Sporting Events programme, supported by the British Embassy Tokyo, will continue to deliver:

• A platform to “make Japan the winner”
• Valuable lessons learned from London 2012 & RWC 2015
• Access to UK business, management, event experience
• Regular events, briefings, webinars, reports
• Community, volunteer, CSR initiatives
• Insights into utilising sport as a catalyst for social change in Japan
• A programme for organisers, communities, businesses from the UK & Japan to “win together”.

The BCCJ urges more Japanese and British companies to get involved in the GSE Champions network, and to utilize the exclusive networking opportunities created by the BCCJ events platform. 

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