Dentsu discuss the commercial development of the aquatics industry
Leading sports marketing company Dentsu has supported FINA as its global marketing agency since its appointment to the role in 2004. With the London Olympic Games just around the corner, this year’s FINA World Aquatics Convention taking place in the Russian city of Moscow from October 29 to November 1 and Barcelona set to host the World Championships in 2013, the coming year promises to be a busy one for the aquatics industry. Soichi Takahashi, general manager of the international sports department for the sports division of Dentsu, discusses the commercial development of aquatics and what the future holds for the industry.
How has Dentsu acted to boost the commercial development of aquatic sport since being appointed as FINA's global marketing agency in 2004?
Soichi Takahashi: “Ever since our appointment by FINA to handle the exploitation of their two flagship events, the FINA World Championships and the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), our approach has been to work in very close co-ordination with FINA.
“In order to be commercially successful, we strongly believe that we must share mutual goals and objectives and we are appreciative of the platform that FINA has given us as well as their strong support for our commercial activities.
“In the last eight years, we have continued to develop and further refine the FINA marketing programme from both a sponsorship and broadcast perspective. We have brought new ideas and initiatives such as FINA Partner identification on bibs and caps that have proved to be a success.”
How has aquatic sport grown from a marketing and broadcast perspective during this time?
ST: “It is without doubt that during this period, there has been impressive growth from both a marketing and broadcast perspective.
“Taking the marketing element first, revenue from sponsorship has multiplied and we have been able to continue to renew long term partnerships with companies such as Yakult, Nikon, Omega and Speedo while at the same time bringing in new companies such as Myrtha Pools and most recently the Chinese company, Midea.
“With regard to broadcast, the last FINA World Championships that took place in Shanghai in 2011 was broadcast in 210 countries across the world reaching all continents. The global cumulative audience doubled in comparison to the 2005 edition.”
Barcelona will host next year’s World Aquatics Championships. What goals does Dentsu have for the event from a commercial perspective?
ST: “Our strategy with regard to the sale of commercial rights to both the FINA World Championships and the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) has been to secure both partners and broadcasters on a multi-year and event basis. As such, we have already a strong stable of partners and broadcasters on board.
“Of course, we will be looking to add these where appropriate and we are confident that based on the location this will be possible. FINA World Championships in Shanghai was a commercial success and including the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Istanbul later this year, we want to build on this success together with FINA.”
The Olympic Games begin later this month in London. What impact will the Games have on Dentsu's promotion of aquatic sport?
ST: “It is without question that in an Olympic year, with aquatic sports clearly of huge importance within the Olympic programme, there is a greater awareness of the sport which can only be positive for us from a commercial perspective.
“We of course hope that London 2012 will see the emergence of new stars or heroes for our sport who will of course then go on to compete at the FINA events for which we are exploiting rights, thereby increasing both interest and awareness from the general public and potential partners and broadcasters.”
Looking to the future, what goals do you have for the commercial development of aquatic sport?
ST: “As previously mentioned, whatever we do from a commercial perspective is done in close co-ordination with FINA and this will continue to be the case moving forward. Our goals will therefore be discussed with FINA and will be the same as theirs as we move forward in what we consider to be a true partnership.
“We believe that, since 2004, we have been successful in our commercial endeavours and are confident that by utilising the strengths that we have as a company from a sports marketing perspective, in conjunction with the excellent relationship with have FINA, this will continue.”