On Wednesday, the ANZCCJ hosted an online Sports for Business Committee meeting featuring three expert speakers from the sports marketing and hospitality industry, who shared their observations on the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and what the Games may look like amid an ongoing global pandemic.
Thomas Sailer (Adidas Japan - Vice President, Brand and Marketing Director), Cristina Merino (STH Japan - Head of Commercial), and Nicholas Bruce (Nielson Sports - Vice President, Head of Consulting & Research) offered different perspectives that allowed us to better understand the issues they have faced in the COVID-19 pandemic, the unique marketing opportunities going into the Tokyo Olympics, the current state of sponsorship activity, consumer sentiment, and what we learned from the Rugby World Cup 2019.
In sharing her experience responding to a postponed Games and new challenges facing event organisers, STH Japan’s Cristina Merino spoke positively of the ways in which the industry has responded, explaining, “[the COVID-19 pandemic] has forced us to become very entrepreneurial in this market. It has helped us focus on new business in Japan and new initiatives which may not have happened otherwise”.
Additionally, Thomas Sailor of Adidas spoke of the lessons from 2020 and how the brand has shifted its marketing strategy, commenting that, “2020 taught us that we needed to adapt our product offer so that it worked for Japanese consumers rather than being largely dependent on an inbound consumer group. The products have to be commercial on their own, even if our athletes cannot promote a product on the field of play”.
Furthermore, with his extensive experience in media evaluation and brand exposure within sport, Nielson Sports’ Nicholas Bruce provided insight into the change in industry trends in response to the pandemic, highlighting that, “what we’ve seen is the acceleration of new and existing trends in the last 12 months, particularly the shift to digital trends, the growth of athletes and influencers as a platform in their own right, and virtual sports and e-sports… which are stepping up to fill the gap caused by the pandemic”.
The discussion concluded on an enthusiastic note, with speakers looking forward to seeing how the upcoming Olympic Games unfold and future sporting events beyond 2021.