It was almost inevitable: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been postponed until 2021.
For broadcasters and advertisers, it is undoubtedly a better than a cancelled Games. However, this does not mean it isn’t without complexities.
A cancelled Games at least would have provided answers right now – at a time where many broadcasters and advertising brands are struggling to stay afloat.
It is still unclear exactly when the 2021 event – which will still be called Tokyo 2020 – will take place, which will present an issue for buyers looking to get organised early.
There is some good news for broadcasters, however.
According to IOC member Dick Pound, the IOC only takes a small fee prior to the games – between five and 10 per cent – with the rest coming after the games are delivered.
“The broadcast revenues are heavily loaded at the time of the games,” Pound told Bloomberg.
This could prove important for Australian broadcaster Seven West Media, which is currently facing financial woes in light of the COVID-19 situation.
SWM Chief Revenue Officer Kurt Burnette said: “We’re disappointed to no longer be able to offer our partners the incredible platform that Tokyo 2020 could provide.
“Our partners are just as disappointed as us, but completely support that the health and safety of the global community comes first. We’re already working together to explore all options and to help support them in reaching their key audiences now, when messaging is more important than ever.”
In the US, local broadcaster NBCUniversal has already sold around $US1.25bn in ad sales for the Tokyo Games, with around 10 per cent remaining.
There are also potential scheduling clashes.
The Euro 2020 football tournament has also been rescheduled for 2021, to take place between June and July.
Organisers have promised the the Tokyo Games will take place “not later than [Northern hemisphere] summer 2021”.
This sets up a potential scheduling clash.
And while sports fans would be happy with such a scenario, this could be an issue for broadcasters, who will already be struggling to sell inventory at the original price.