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Volume 6 No. 232
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GMR Marketing Opens Office In Tokyo Ahead Of Rugby World Cup, Olympics

GMR Marketing opened a Tokyo office to handle business related to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Games. To lead the office, the agency hired Satoshi Saito as director of sponsorship planning & activation. Saito was previously the Japan FA's deputy marketing director, where he was in charge of int'l match operations. Before that, Saito worked as the Asian Football Confederation marketing director out of Malaysia. GMR Head of Global Sports/Entertainment Consulting Adam Lippard called Saito a “perfect hire” because of his rare combination of local expertise and global marketing experience. The Japanese market will be complex for GMR because of Dentsu’s dominating presence and the fact that two key hospitality service providers, KNT and JTB, are also Tokyo 2020 sponsors. “I’ve got to find someone who can just as easily speak to the Visas and P&Gs of the world as they can the [Tokyo 2020] partners, and it’s not easy to find that fluent English, global sensibility,” Lippard said. The GMR Tokyo office will eventually staff up to about 20 people as planning for the Rugby and Olympics events peaks.