Sports Business: The Next Frontier?
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Sports Business: The Next Frontier?

Sports Business: The Next Frontier?

With the World Rugby Cup to be held in Japan in 2019 and the next Olympic and Paralypmic Games scheduled for Tokyo in 2020, it’s not surprising that there is increasing interest in the business of sport and how that can be yet another thread in the vibrant fabric of the Australia Japan relationship. What is not commonly known is that there are already a variety of linkages across some codes. However, it is not limited to the sports players themselves but extends to training, management and other service providers supporting the sporting sector.

Earlier this year the AJBCC in conjunction with PwC held a sports round table in Sydney and Melbourne to bring together the major codes to discuss how the bilateral opportunity might be better exploited. John Wylie, Chair of the Australian Sports Commission, further clarified the opportunities in an address he gave in Tokyo to members of the AJBCC and the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ):

“…….This domestic and international focus on sport will create significant opportunities for Japan.

Sporting Brands Commercially

This focus [the World Rugby Cup and the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics] will drive significant growth in the sports products market, and opportunities for Japanese sporting brands, at a time when many factors are creating a very favourable outlook for growth in the world sports products and apparel market – a growing global population, the rise of Asian middle classes with their discretionary spending power, ageing populations looking to keep fit and healthy, an increased community awareness of the benefits of active and heathy lifestyles and the rise of wearable technology making sport more accessible and fun for the masses. Japan should prosper in this environment with its long and proud tradition of creating and building powerhouse global sporting brands, such as Mizuno, Yonex and ASICS, and its innovative and globally-oriented business mindset. A number of smaller but growing Australian companies today are developing global sports businesses, such as Catapult in wearable sports tech and 2XU in sports compression apparel. Many are helping themselves succeed through collaboration with elite sporting agencies like the AIS, which does research projects with private sector companies to advance sports technology. I am confident that Japan’s likely success in the next Olympics will lead to the same sort of global recognition for the Japan High Performance Sports Centre that the AIS today enjoys, creating commercial opportunities for the Centre itself but also for organisations that collaborate and partner with it. But competition will be intense for this global opportunity. Australian research firm Gemba reports that over the next decade the global sports world will shift its axis and the shift will be to Asia, led by the world’s 2nd biggest sport economy, China. The industry there alone could be worth US$700bn by 2025. [Ed:our emphasis] Gemba argues, and I concur, that “Western sports organisations will need to move from having an Asian strategy to building their global strategy with Asia at its core. To do otherwise will put them at risk of missing massive growth opportunities.”

Read the whole speech here.