Event Details

Few other industries were as deeply disrupted by the pandemic as sports; most of the games are not so fun if the players have to be socially distanced. Gathering huge crowds of people for mass sports events did not seem a good idea amid the raging epidemic either. Not surprisingly, The Economist's recently developed normalcy index, tracking key areas of social and business activity across 50 of the biggest economies of the world, shows that sports remain only at 20% of their pre-pandemic activity level, which is the lowest position in the index. With the vaccine rollout, there is renewed interest in sports from athletes, their fans, and sponsor companies, but given the concerns about the timing of mass events and the infection rates in different countries it will most likely take a while until the sports industry gets fully back to normal.

On a more personal level, sports also played a huge role in helping people overcome the loneliness, anxiety, and stress of the last 18 months. This is not a new phenomenon, since historically professional and amateur sports have significantly contributed to promoting a diversity and inclusion agenda in society by giving new chances and opening new doors to people from various walks of life. One can be certain that in the future this will stay one of the main reasons for the widespread and global passion for sports.

How will the sports industry change going forward and how will it contribute to the post-pandemic recovery? What new approaches have businesses developed in sponsoring and promoting sports activities? Join us as we discuss the future of sports with key experts at our late summer event in Tokyo.


  • Mitsuko Shino (Ambassador in Charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games at Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    Mitsuko Shino

    Ambassador in Charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games at Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Noah Sneider (Tokyo bureau chief at The Economist)

    Noah Sneider

    Tokyo bureau chief at The Economist

    Noah Sneider is The Economist’s Tokyo Bureau Chief, covering Japanese politics, business, society and culture. Prior to this he covered Russia and the former Soviet Union as Moscow Correspondent. Before joining The Economist, he reported for a range of publications, including The New York Times and The New Republic. His writing has also appeared in Harper’s, The Atlantic, and Slate, among others. He is a member of the third generation in his family to live and work in Japan.

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  • William Thomas (Director, South-east Asia of The Economist Corporate Network)

    William Thomas

    Director, South-east Asia of The Economist Corporate Network

    William Thomas is the Director of the Economist Corporate Network in South-east Asia. An experienced advisor to senior business and government leaders, he helps organisations understand the strategic, operational, and talent implications of geopolitical changes.

    William holds a PhD in public policy from George Mason University in the US, as well as a degree in economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA. His academic research has centered on managing change in large, multinational organisations, with an emphasis on organisational culture.

    William is a retired United States Air Force lieutenant colonel, having spent much of his 21-year career as a strategic planner for complex operations such as humanitarian assistance and counterterrorism. He was Associate Professor of Political Science at the US Air Force Academy, and later taught at Georgetown University in Washington DC and as a Fulbright Scholar at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

    Having worked in Asia since 2012, William has focused on leadership development and organisational change as a consultant, leadership coach, and training facilitator.

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  • Other panelists to be confirmed

    Other panelists to be confirmed