Tokyo Unite to bring together city’s sports

Fourteen of Tokyo’s sports clubs and organisations have clubbed together to launch a joint project designed to enhance the marketing power and appeal of the city’s teams and venues.

Through ‘Tokyo Unite’, the different groups will share knowledge and knowhow about how to market their stadia and arenas, as well as their brands, with the aim of boosting fan followings, supporting social issues and increasing sports participation in and around Japan’s capital city.

The group underpinning Tokyo Unite comprises Tokyo Yakult Swallows and Yomiuri Giants from baseball, FC Tokyo, FC Machida Zelvia and Tokyo Verdy from men’s football and Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza from women’s football.

Rugby union – one of the country’s growing sports after Japan staged the 2019 Rugby World Cup – is also represented by a trio of clubs: Tokyo Santory Sungoliath, Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo and Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo.

Other participants include basketball teams Sunrockers Shibuya and Alvark Tokyo, Tokyo Frog Kings from swimming, Kinoshita Meister Tokyo from table tennis and Nihon Sumo Kyokai from sumo wrestling.

Shigeya Kawagishi, managing director of Tokyo Football Club, which operates the J-League Division 1 team FC Tokyo, said: “We are really proud that FC Tokyo can participate in Tokyo Unite activities, while at the same time acknowledging the responsibility it brings.

“By overcoming the boundaries separating each individual sport team and group in Tokyo, and joining together in cooperation, we can achieve things that we would never have been able to individually.

“I truly believe that the power of sport will, more than ever before, bring colour to peoples’ lives, and contribute to finding solutions to social issues. I also believe that Tokyo Unite will help to revitalise Tokyo, and even Japan, after the havoc of the COVID pandemic.”

After staging the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games last year in front of barely any spectators, the city’s government is keen to avoid the fate of numerous other previous host cities, which have been lumbered with unsustainable white elephants in the wake of holding sport’s biggest event.

Only eight of Tokyo’s 42 venues for the Games were new and permanent, with the rest being existing or temporary.