The British newspaper The Times reported that the Japanese government may have to abandon its plan to host the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and instead strive to be the host again in 2032.
In response, not only did the Tokyo Organizing Committee issue a statement denying it, but IOC President Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Suga also made statements that the Olympics would definitely be held as scheduled.
As for how the Tokyo Olympics will be held, Bach believes that running the games on an empty field could be an option.
According to Kyodo 24, Bach said in a video released six months before the 23rd ushered in the countdown to the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, “We will decide in due course the means needed to deal with the pandemic.
This also involves the audience.” Bach, who had opposed empty stadiums last October, did not deny the possibility of holding them or limiting the number of spectators on the 21st of this month.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe also recently expressed confidence that the Tokyo Olympics will be held this year, “If the only way to achieve that is to close the doors to spectators, I think everyone will accept that.”
The Times says the IOC is pushing for an “empty stadium” Olympics. This is in the IOC’s interest, as most of its revenue comes from television broadcasts; but an empty stadium is not in Japan’s interest, as the latter’s revenue is mainly tied to tickets.
According to Kyodo News, an empty stadium is expected to lose 90 billion yen (100 million yen is about 1 million USD) in ticket revenue.
According to data previously released by Katsuhiro Miyamoto, professor emeritus of theoretical economics at Kansai University, Japan’s economic loss is expected to reach 2,413.3 billion yen if the Tokyo Olympics are held without spectators.
Specifically including the participants, the audience and the Japanese people related to consumer spending will lose about 719.8 billion yen, the additional investment brought about by the postponement of about 640.8 billion yen, as well as the post-Olympic sports promotion of 105.27 billion yen.
Another big loser is the sponsors. According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the Tokyo Organizing Committee has extended sponsorship contracts until the end of 2021, and 68 Olympic sponsors in Japan will provide more than $212 million in additional financial support.
The total sponsorship cost of the Tokyo Olympics will be as high as $3.57 billion, far exceeding the $1.22 billion of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the $1.15 billion of the 2012 London Olympics.
Wang Dazhao, a senior reporter for the People’s Daily, told the Global Times that since January, the epidemic has been developing rapidly in Japan and no empty stadium may be safe. Not only the lives of spectators are lives, but athletes as well.
If it is difficult to guarantee the safety of athletes to compete in Japan, or if the related procedures are too complicated and seriously affect their competitive status, the Olympics will lose its meaning.