Event Summary - The Business of Rugby with World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper
12 Oct 2016 | By Olivia Harland
The new Tri-Seven Roppongi building was the venue for our most recent joint chamber event, The Business of Rugby, with special guest speaker World Rugby CEO, Brett Gosper. Brett was in Tokyo as part of a World Rugby delegation to attend review meetings for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The discussion began with the position of the current world champions, the All Blacks, and their latest world record-equalling of 17 consecutive test wins. The All Blacks have continued to dominate the sport after their back to back World Cup win in England 2015 and will be a favourite in 2019.
The Olympic effect on Rugby
The Olympics has created a path for 7’s rugby, with players such as Sonny Bill Williams transitioning from 15’s to Olympic 7’s this year at Rio. Typically, 15’s is an easier code for national teams to get up to speed on and for viewers to understand.
Due to the ‘Olympic effect’, rugby is now included in school curriculums and has also grown women’s rugby globally. World Rugby now has focus and funding for women’s rugby due to huge growth and increase in popularity. Brett Gosper said in a recent press release, “Women’s rugby is one of our major growth areas with two million women and girls playing the game worldwide.” This growth has somewhat taken care of itself as women are enjoying and taking a keen interest in the sport.
Japan as RWC2019 host nation
There is a lot of excitement and interest in rugby in Japan and having an Asian country host the event shows rugby is becoming a global sport. Japan’s success in the England World Cup in 2015 has created great momentum for Rugby in Japan - now is the time to grow the sport in Japan. Their game against Samoa was watched by a record-breaking 25 million Japanese viewers, “the biggest national viewing audience in rugby history”, as reported by The Guardian. “Japan 2019 … is set to be a ground-breaking global celebration of rugby and the host nation” said World Rugby in a recent press statement.
When compared to other tournament host countries, there are more cultural and linguistic challenges to overcome in Japan however, as Gosper told Kyodo in an interview recently, “Japan is ahead of England 2015 in terms of preparations”.
During this visit, World Rugby announced a substantial package of sponsorships and supplier rights granted to Dentsu Inc. According to World Rugby, Dentsu’s knowledge of and reach in the Japanese market will attract major Japanese commercial partners and allow World Rugby top-tier commercial partner agreements, broadcast, licencing, and hospitality rights. This will also ensure maximum national coverage of the event and attract Japanese commercial partners.