TOKYO – Japan’s capital sees the coming years as the perfect time to seize opportunities on sports innovation as it hosts a number of sports events: The Rugby World Cup this year, Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, and World Masters Games Kansai and World Aquatics Championships in 2021. It’s anticipated that having the spotlight on sports through these events could lead to more opportunities.

The Japan Sports Agency reveals to expand and grow sports-related businesses from 5.5 billion yen in 2015 to 15.2 billion yen by 2025 by combining technology and other industries with the sports industry. With this in mind, Dentsu has committed to help empower the city’s sports-focused businesses with the Sports Tech Tokyo program.

Spearheaded by Dentsu’s Director for CDC Future Business Tech Team and Business Development Fumihiko Nakajima and Scrum Venture’s Founder Tak Miyata, the Sports Tech Tokyo Program aims to help startups advance their sports businesses with new technology as well as through mentorships from 150 business professionals in the field of sports.

“The objective of the sports tech Tokyo program is to form high quality startups from all over the world in the area of sports and technology. Opportunities will be provided for the startups’ acceleration, and for the major companies, there will be opportunities to utilize the open innovation platforms,” says Nakajima.

Participants of the Sports Tech Tokyo program can expect to have the rare opportunity of learning from the best and brightest in the sports industry. In addition to workshops and talks, the participants will receive guidance and mentorship on their pitches to investors, venture capitalists, and others.

“We will be involving our mentors basically from North America, including the investors, engineers, entrepreneurs, as well as big names in the sports business. They will be providing advice to us in terms of product development.”

The program, happening both in Japan and the US, will give startups the chance to present to and network with global sports leaders, leagues, and teams. Most importantly, the program will give the startups a once in a lifetime opportunity to get funding from mentors, investors, and corporations.

During the World Demo Day this August, participating startups will showcase their products at prominent venues in San Francisco to gain maximum promotion and business opportunities.
In addition to generating sports businesses for the next generation and creating businesses from the best ideas around the world, the Sports Tech Tokyo program is also looking into benefitting three areas: the athletes, their audience, and sports infrastructure.
“For the athletes, we are intending to enhance their performance, as well as the strategy for both amateur athletes and top athletes alike. We will [also] focus on enhancing the experience of the audience, with the use of AI and VR device and software. We will also enhance the engagement between the athletes and the fans. In the area of infrastructure, this will include stadium solutions as well as arena solutions—such as payment and ticketing services, and security—to enhance the customer experience,” Nakajima shares.
Through the Sports Tech Tokyo program, Dentsu will not only highlight ideas, passion, and dreams of these sports-centered startups, but also create a lasting impact in the business industry in the country. “We have high expectations that Sports Tech Tokyo program will not only have an impact on sports, but also have an impact to revitalize business in a wider context.”