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Volume 6 No. 211


While Japan got its moment in the rugby spotlight with its test in Tokyo against the All Blacks, the match "also had benefits for the New Zealand Rugby Union as it promoted its most famous brand in Asia," according to Emma Stoney of the N.Y. TIMES. The fact that New Zealand "was playing its first official test in Japan was significant, particularly as the Japanese will be host to the World Cup in 2019 and the Olympics the following year, when rugby sevens will be on the docket." The Int'l Rugby Board "has earmarked Asia as a key region in its quest to raise the profile of rugby globally and to strengthen it." The Asian sports market "over all offers huge potential growth commercially for the sport, and this trip to Japan offered a chance for the N.Z.R.U. to develop commercial as well as rugby relationships." NZRU CEO Steve Tew said, "There’s no doubt that Asia is going to be important. Taking the All Blacks there, it's a dual opportunity to really promote the game, but we were also looking for development opportunities, and this is obviously a first step." Rugby officials "would like to expand Japan’s role in other areas, and that could include increased participation in the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest domestic competition." The organizers of Super Rugby "are exploring their options." Expansion into Asia, particularly Japan, "is one of the options being considered, and Tew had discussions with the Japanese about the possibilities while in Tokyo." SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said, "Obviously the commercial aspect of those markets is attractive. Asia and Japan are big sports markets in a general sense, and rugby is gaining a stronger foothold in those areas" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/3).

The FC Barcelona basketball team has released a "statement saying it will improve its ticketing recall system for minors at its Palau Blaugrana arena," according to MUNDO DEPORTIVO. For Sunday's game between Barcelona and Spanish Basketball League (ACB) side Gipuzkoa, "long lines at the ticket windows forced fans to wait for entry until the game had started because only one ticket window was open for distributing the tickets that were free for children younger than eight." The club "has asked for forgiveness from the fans who were affected and assured that Barcelona will take the necessary measures in the future to ease ticket distribution, and if necessary, increase the human resources in the ticket office for upcoming games" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 11/4).

Serie A Inter Milan's new Owner Erick Thohir has said that "he invested in the club as he expects Italy’s Serie A to rise in prominence over the coming years," according to SOCCEREX. Thohir said, "If I buy a club which doesn’t have a big name or history, then I lose. Why should I buy shares in (English Premier League club) West Ham? With Inter, on the other hand, I have a club with a big name and there were the right conditions to complete the deal, and this represents a big opportunity. This is a club which has a name and a great history in Europe and in the world, and I’m convinced that in the space of two years, the Italian league will be thriving again." Inter's long-serving President Massimo Moratti "has long stated the importance of attracting fresh investment into the club" (SOCCEREX, 11/4).