First Proposal of the Study Group on Collaboration of Regional Areas and Sports Club Industry Compiled
- Getting top sports (professionals, company teams, etc.) and regional sports on a growth track as "both wheels of the cart" -
June 25, 2021
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) inaugurated a Study Group on Collaboration of Regional Areas and the Sports Club Industry (chaired by Mr. Mano Yoshiyuki, Director of the Research Institute for Sport Business, Waseda University). The results of the 10 discussions held between October 2020 and March 2021 have been compiled as the group's first proposal.
Going forward, METI will work on reflecting the content of this proposal in the discussions toward formulating the Third Sport Basic Plan at the Sports Council, and will compile the final proposal next spring, adding the suggestions from a feasibility study that will commence this summer.
1. Purpose of and background to inaugurating the Study Group on Collaboration of Regional Areas and the Sports Club Industry
In Europe, for example, there are many "regional sports clubs" that serve as engines for local communities and economies, and together with the presence of top sports clubs, form a broad service industry rooted in the regions. In Japan, the J-League has also grown in that kind of direction since it was launched in the 1990s.
On the other hand, the sustainability of school club activities—which provide elementary, junior-high, and high school students in Japan with sports environments—has been threatened by the issue of excessive workloads on teachers and falling numbers of students due to the declining birthrate. Consequently, regional transition has become necessary. This may prove to be an opportunity for the growth all over Japan of "regional sports clubs as a service industry" that provide "paid service" quality instruction, facilities, and communities. This could improve sports facilities in which all generations will be able to practice a variety of sports throughout their lifetime, and pave the way for new growth of regional economies placing the sports club industry at the core. Against this backdrop, METI inaugurated a study group in cooperation with the Japan Sports Agency and other related organizations as participants. The study group has identified challenges in ideal approaches to "integrated regional sports clubs," which the government has been promoting, and has discussed future directions for measures to address them.
2. The first proposal
The proposal presents five points to consider in order to achieve the concept of a new social system centered on regional sports clubs. It also proposes that the potential of "regional sports clubs as a service industry" needs to be considered in the context of a larger "sports industry," both as a growth strategy for top sports (professionals, company teams, universities, etc.), and as forming "both wheels of the cart" together with it. In other words, it will clarify the stance that one issue is that "regional sports clubs as a service industry" need to be considered as part of a "larger sports finance cycle" created by things like the sale of tickets for and videos from top sports events, games and other forms of entertainment created using data on players and teams, and the development and sale of sports tech, fitness and health care products, and sports goods.
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Division in Charge
Service Affairs Policy Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group