2020 Tokyo Olympics More Likely to Be Delayed Than Canceled, Says Board Member

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2020

The logo for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is seen in Tokyo on February 15, 2020. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/Getty Images

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics won't be canceled because of the outbreak of the coronavirus, but the games reportedly could be delayed by as much as 24 months. 

A member of the competition's executive board, Haruyuki Takahashi, told the Wall Street Journal's Alastair Gale (h/t Tom Schad of USA Today): "I don't think the Games could be canceled. It'd be a delay. The International Olympic Committee would be in trouble if there's a cancellation. American TV rights alone provide them with a huge amount."

The Tokyo Games are supposed to begin on July 24 as things stand, with the International Olympic Committee so far sticking to the date.

Earlier this month, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said the games will take place as planned, reaffirming "we completely expect to deliver them on that date. All the advice we've been given is that that can go ahead, from the WHO and other organizations," per TMZ Sports.

Yet, despite Adams' confidence, Schad detailed how postponing the event would impact U.S.-based broadcasters and Japanese companies. He noted NBC has "secured $1.25 billion in advertising revenue," while those organising things in the Japanese capital anticipate paying out $12.6 billion.

SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. produced a report outlining how canceling the Games could prompt a reduction of 1.4 percent in Japan's yearly GDP, according to Schad.

The idea of calling the games off may be deemed too expensive, but even a postponement could be tricky. Takahashi's two-year estimate may not be possible, with Japan's Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto saying the contract demands the games be hosted before the end of 2020, per Reuters (h/t ESPN).

So many differing interpretations of the possibilities shows the uncertainty still existing among the sporting authorities. They are responding to attempts to deal with an ongoing outbreak which has seen the virus spread to over 100 countries, with more than 116,000 people diagnosed, according to the New York Times.

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