Two-Thirds Of Tokyo 2020 Sponsors ‘Unsure Whether To Continue To Back Postponed Olympic Games’

Tokyo Olympics 2020 image
Photo Courtesy: Tokyo 2020

Two-thirds of corporate Tokyo 2020 sponsors are undecided on whether to continue supporting the Olympic Games after the event was shunted ahead a year to July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.

In a  poll carried out by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, 65 per cent of the sponsors surveyed said they had not made up their minds about whether to extend their financial backing for another year.

More than two-thirds – 68 per cent – of respondents in the Tokyo 2020 sponsors survey said that COVID-19 had taken a toll on their own financial situation. NHK surveyed 78 Olympic and Paralympic sponsors, receiving responses from 57.

According to NHK, some companies voiced concerns that their promotional activities around the Games could be curtailed due to crowd-reduction measures imposed against the coronavirus. They also feared that the Games could be scrapped altogether.

Several Olympic leadership figures have suggested that the Tokyo Olympics must take place next year or not at all, while a decision on whether the Games will go ahead may only be made as late as spring 2021 and will depend on any progress that has been made in the rush to find a vaccine and remedies for COVID-19.

Many of the Tokyo 2020 sponsors have not yet decided whether to even enter renewed negotiation with the International Olympic Committee and/or Tokyo 2020 in 2021 organisers.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto revealed today that the organising committee had not contacted the sponsors as yet due to the coronavirus emergency declared in Japan just after the Games were postponed in late March. However, he sought to ease their concerns that the Games would not take place, telling AFP and other media:

“I don’t think there is anyone who can really promise that the Olympics and Paralympics will be held in 2021 for sure – 100 per cent in any circumstance.”

He said that Tokyo 2020 sponsors should be assured of the “commitment and dedication …to somehow holding the Olympics.”

Muto refused, once again, to put a price tag on the additional costs of postponing the Games by one year, but the IOC has set aside $800 million.

He also announced today that 80 percent of venues had been secured for the postponed Games and negotiations were ongoing for the rest, including the Athletes’ Village and the proposed site for the media. He refused to say which venues were still under negotiation.

According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion, shared between the organising committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.

Tokyo 2020 “Gold” sponsors include such Japanese household names as Canon, NEC and Asahi Breweries, while car giant Toyota is a worldwide Olympic sponsor.

According to the latest version of the Tokyo 2020 budget, local sponsorship was due to bring in $3.3 billion, more than half the projected revenues of $5.9 billion.

Since the postponement, officials have been stressing the need to slim down the Games.