Report: Olympics Delay to 2021 Due to Coronavirus Could Cost Japan $2.7 Billion

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2020

People wearing masks walk past the Olympic rings near the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The Tokyo Olympics are being threatened by a fast-spreading virus that has shut down most schools, sports competitions and Olympic-related events in Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Delaying the 2020 Summer Olympics until 2021 could have a massively negative financial impact on Japan.

According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei reported it could cost Japan $2.7 billion.

On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee agreed to postpone the 2020 Summer Games until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Olympics had been set to run from July 24 through Aug. 9.

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee CEO Toshiro Muto said the following about postponement: "Of course there will be costs. As for how much, we have no figures with us right now. As for who will shoulder these costs? Needless to say, they are not going to be easy discussions, so we are not sure how long they will take."

Per the AP, there are several hurdles that must be cleared on the road to rescheduling the Olympics.

For starters, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee must negotiate new leases on venues, determine where sporting events will be held and figure out a way around real estate developers attempting to sell off apartments that were meant to be part of the Athletes Village.

The organizing committee sold $3.3 billion in advertising, and it's unclear how it will make good on those advertising dollars with no Olympics until next year.

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According to the report, local organizers said it would cost $12.6 billion to put on the Olympics, while a government audit in December estimated the cost to be $28 billion.

The Olympics are already an expensive venture under perfect circumstances, but with so much uncertainty surrounding when the Tokyo Games will take place, Japan is seemingly set to take a significant financial hit.