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RWC 2019: hospitality, business opportunities, what to expect?

The Major Sporting Events Committee and its chairman Anthony Gourmel held a conference on November 27 about the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup which will be hosted in Japan. The two guest speakers were Yuji Honda, Head of Strategy & Legacy Department at the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organizing Committee, and David MacCallum, Commercial Director for Asia at STH Japan, a joint venture between JTB Corporation – the largest travel agency in Japan and one of the largest travel agencies in the world – and STH Group, a sports hospitality company established to collaborate on Japanese domestic sports hospitality projects. 

As revealed on November 2 by World Rugby and the RWC Organizing Committee, the Rugby World Cup 2019 will take place in the span of 44 days over 12 distinct cities of Japan and is planned to attract 400 000 tourists from all over the world. Out of the 48 matches, 15 will be played in Tokyo or in Sapporo. Yuji Honda pointed out that one of the Organizing Committee’s missions is increasing the locals’ interest in rugby”.

During RWC 2015, the average maximum capacity of stadiums in England was of 51,620 people per match against 37,500 people in Japan. Nevertheless, RWC 2019’s economic impact will be immense, generating over 420 billion yen in total. The sum includes expenses directly and indirectly related to the tournament (45% and 33% respectively) as well as employee expenditures (22%) Foreign tourist expenditure would be a large part of the direct impact.

David MacCallum introduced the Rugby World Cup’s official hospitality program though visual examples and explained its opportunities and benefits. STH Japan will build unique venues to entertain clients before and after matches, including private suites, branded informal suites, formal and casual restaurants. Hospitality services will be made available in all 12 venues through different packages (Diamond, Platinum or Gold), ensuring high quality food and drinks, VIP access and areas, limited edition gifts, and exclusive entertainment such as sport celebrities and guest speakers.

The program will bring the birth of a new industry – thus creating new work opportunities –, enhance spectators’ experience, generate local company engagement and allow for lower price tickets. As for companies, it will be a great opportunity for networking, building stronger relationships with their clients by showing them gratitude in an exceptional way and increasing engagement – starting from the invitation. The packages will also allow companies to buy tickets in bulk when general tickets are limited to 6 per purchase.

France will play their pool matches in Tokyo on September 21 (versus Argentina), in Fukuoka on October 2 (against the US), in Kumamoto on October 6 (versus Tonga), and in Yokohama on October 12 (versus England), which are likely to be followed by a quarter final in Oita on October 19 or 20. Tickets and travel packages will be available for purchase starting January 2018.

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