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April 08, 2020

With the 2020 Olympics postponed, marketers must rise above the challenge

Jamee Barwick – Account Coordinator

Every four years, athletes from countries come together all over the planet to compete on one stage. The highly anticipated 2020 summer Olympics were set to debut in July, until the biggest pandemic in history, the Coronavirus (COVID-19), struck. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has announced it will be postponed until July, 23, 2021 to ensure the safety and health of the athletes and bystanders.

Billions spent on advertising, sponsorships and promotion deals that were centered around this year’s Olympic games are diminished. Host nations spend huge sums of money building the Olympic Village and competitive facilities, employing thousands of workers to create and staff the games. Japan reportedly spent more than $10 billion in the past seven years to host the iconic event, putting the country at risk of financial devastation.

• From a top sponsor’s perspective, there is a $100 million fee that goes into being endorsed into the Olympic four-year period.
• NBCUniversal stated they had attained around $1.4 billion in TV advertisement sales – making it an Olympic record for the 2020 Olympic games. They will have to revise their deals and find ways to keep these agreements in good shape until the start of the games. The media outlet has secured the airing rights to broadcast the Olympics until the year 2032.
• The athletic participation may change depending on the new date of the Olympics. This could alter graphics, content packaging with the athlete’s brand as the focal point and marketing tools used for that specific person. The creatives are going to have to hunker down and prepare for any obstacles that may jeopardize their branding and put them back to square one.
• Marketing content is also an additional expense since the year has been changed from 2020 to 2021. Products are specialized and developed months or years in advance for promotion at the Olympics. Businesses will have to rise together to be innovative on this unforeseeable adaptation to the games.
• Tourism for Japan will take a hard hit in their economy not only due to the COVID-19 crisis, but the influx of people who were set to spend their summer in Japan, companies relied on to spend money and enjoy their enriched culture. Last year alone, Japan held 31.9 million foreigners spending almost $43.1 billion boosting their economy.

In order for the huge gap to be filled financially, marketers must make a plan of action to ensure their company’s brand is being represented appropriately in the Olympic games. This is an opportunity for brands to be innovative and prepare for the switch to be turned back on once the Olympics prevails.


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