The Stadia & Arena Japan 2018/Sports Business Japan 2018 conference and exhibition got off to a flying start in Osaka today.
Hundreds of delegates packed in to the conference room to hear keynote speeches from leading figures in Japan’s sports industry.
There was standing room only as Gen Kawai, director at Japan Sports Agency (JSA) told attendees that Japan was looking to build 20 stadia and arenas by 2025.
He said the JSA was looking to help make sport a growth industry in Japan. The industry is worth 5.5 trillion yen (£37 billion) today but the JSA hopes to see this rise to 15 trillion yen by 2025.
The country is due to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Saburo Kawabuchi, president of the Japan Top Leagues Alliance, called on authorities to build bigger and better stadia and arenas around the country.
A plethora of high-profile speakers gave presentations throughout the duration of the two-day event.
Three key speakers – Mick Wright, executive director for event delivery, Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee; Ross Aitken, Rugby World Cup 2019 venues and cities director, World Rugby; and Takano Tsutomu, director of venue management, JR 2019– presented the latest on the 12 venues across Japan and the implications for the host cities as they prepare for the world’s third largest sports event (after the Summer Olympics and the Football World Cup).
Shaun Dawson, chief executive Lee Valley Regional Park Authority gave a presentationon the legacy of Lee Valley watersports centre from the London 2012 Olympics.
Meanwhile, panellists from across the globe discussed topics ranging from playing surfaces to venue design, operation and management and fan engagement.
Event director Neil Levett said:
It was fantastic to see such a huge crowd at the opening of the conference and exhibition today.
The number and calibre of attendees continues to grow from our first event in Japan in 2016. The B-League is holding a club meeting here, and with a delegation from RWC 2019 and the J-League stadia committee here as well, it demonstrates how the conference and exhibition has grown to become the must-attend event for the sports business in Japan.
The day before the main event more than 150 delegates were taken on tours of the Ookini basketball arena, Maishima, and the Panasonic Stadium, Suita, home of the J-League’s Gamba Osaka.
Panasonic Stadium holds 40,000 spectators and is used as a showcase for the latest Panasonic fan-engagement technology.
Fans are just metres from the pitch at the stadium which has a roof covering all the stands and an innovative ventilation system to help keep the pitch in good condition.