Tokyo Olympics Hangs In The Balance
Two recent polls in Tokyo have revealed that more than 80% of people want the Olympics postponed, or cancelled altogether. A recent surge in infections has led to a state of emergency, once again putting plans for the Olympics in jeopardy. Tokyo’s citizens are concerned that an influx of athletes and tourists would send their infection rates skyrocketing, and they feel that it’s time a decision was made about the games.
Since the start of the global health crisis the Olympics has been a topic of debate. While different countries have had varying opinions of whether or not they’d compete, in 2020 the organisers were adamant the games would go ahead in summer of 2021, no matter what. However, now, with the results of the polls so clearly highlighting the local population’s feelings about the games, the organisers may need to rethink.
Bad News for The IOC
Both the Tokyo organisers of the games and the International Olympic Committee are currently not wavering from their stance that the games will begin on the 23 July, 2021. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is also confident that the games will go ahead, despite the current state of emergency.
The biggest issue facing the organisers is the potential loss of money not hosting the games would generate. For every host country, a huge amount of money is made, but a huge sum is also spent. And this money is spent upfront preparing for the athletes, visitors and events.
Japan is spending a whopping $15.4 billion to host the Olympics, although some say this figure is closer to $25 billion. Of the total, all but $6.7 billion is public money, so there are huge losses to consider. The IOC earns 91% of its income from selling the rights of the games to broadcasting companies and through sponsorships – funding they’ll lose if the games are cancelled. NBC has already signed contracts with the IOC worth $4.38 billion and 47.75 billion, so there’s a lot of money on the table right now.
An Athletic Debate
Should the Olympics go ahead, Japan will host 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from other countries. Add to this the judges, officials, VIPs, media, broadcasters, sponsors and coaches and the number could easily double. And this is before fans are brought into the equation.
Some athletes have been outspoken about not wanting to put themselves at risk, whilst others have openly said they believe the Olympics will be a super spreader event and there will be no way to control it. With July only 6 months away, plenty could change, and the IOC and for now, Tokyo seem set on trying hosting the games, even without the support of the nation.