Blue United founder Takehiko Nakamura is a preeminent sports industry expert who for over a decade has forged countless partnerships and innovative ventures involving the sports and business leaders from around the world. His expertise includes a longstanding track record of leading prominent and productive alliances between heavyweights across Asia, Europe and the USA.
In fact, Blue United has overseen ambitious projects for worldwide brands like Italian football legend Alessandro Del Piero in Japan, Yanmar, and Japanese super club Kashima Antlers, for which Nakamura serves as the club’s Global Strategy Officer, opening their newly inaugurated headquarters in New York City.
Nakamura’s relationships around the globe has recently led to the founding of the Pacific Rim Cup in Hawaii – the only football event in the world featuring sides from Japan, Canada and the USA. This property made the shortlisted Finalist for SPIA Asia - Sports Industry Awards & Conference - Best International Sporting Event of the Year.
In addition to working with top clubs around the world, Blue United’s portfolio also includes major leagues: Nakamura is Asian market consultant for US top-flight football league Major League Soccer, Special career adviser & international business development for Japan's top-flight baseball league Pacific League Marketing and he is also an international business development adviser for Japan’s top-flight football league J.League’s Sports Human Capital.
Prior to founding BLUE United, Nakamura was the first hire for US-based LeadOff Sports Marketing, where he quickly proved a key figure in bridging interests between Western countries and the Asian continent. In this role, Nakamura worked with a variety of clients across a wide range of properties, and orchestrating a landmark, seven-figure, multi-year partnership between New York Red Bulls and Yanmar.
Fluent in English and Japanese, Nakamura first made his mark on the international scene as one of the first-ever Japanese-born executives at a major US sports league when he served as Manager of International Business for Major League Soccer’s business and marketing arm, Soccer United Marketing (SUM). In his role over six years, Nakamura was responsible for the league’s Asian business and successfully launched the Pan-Pacific Championship (2008). He was also the venue and project manager for over 150 international events, including the Mexican National Team's U.S. Tour and the record-breaking FC Barcelona U.S. Tour in 2006.
Following their record-breaking tour, Spanish giants FC Barcelona later hired Nakamura as Director of International Business, charged with overseeing the Asian, Oceania and North American markets. Nakamura helped launch the club's New York office and was responsible for major partnership deals, including the “2010 FCB China Tour.”
One of the only two FIFA-licensed Match Agents from Japan, Nakamura’s industry honors include an “Alumni-On-The-Rise Award” (2015) by the University of Massachusetts and the “International Entrepreneur Award of Excellence” (2017) by the Tokyo New Business Conference, recognizing leaders who have established unique business models overseas.
Nakamura’s career achievements have also led to a role as an adjunct faculty member at his alma mater Aoyama Gakuin University’s School of Global Studies and Collaborations in Japan and as a guest lecturer at Columbia University’s Global Sports Law and Sports Management program in New York City.
In addition to a Law degree from Aoyama Gakuin University, where he also starred for the university’s No. 2 ranked men’s football team, Nakamura earned a Master's degree in International Sports Law from Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economia (ISDE) based in Madrid, Spain, as well as a Master's Degree in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts.
The latter move to Massachusetts in the Northeast region of the USA came after Japan-based experiences in client relations with Yahoo! Sports Japan and in international business with NEC Corporation.
He would go on to build deep roots in the country, serving as the Council Leader of U.S. - Japan Council, establishing his family’s permanent residence as well as Blue United’s global headquarters in New York City.