Tokyo Olympics delayed one year after virus wipes out 2020 Games
After having sidelined every major U.S. and international sporting event, the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the biggest gathering of 2020. This morning, following a hastily convened conference call with the prime minister of Japan and the head of the Tokyo organization, the International Olympic Committee announced that the Summer Games will be put on hold until 2021.
Citing the “unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak [that] has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating,” the IOC said it and the government of Japan have agreed to reschedule the 17-day event for a “date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.”
The official postponement of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad comes just two days after the IOC said it was re-assessing the feasibility of continuing as planned in the midst of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Sunday’s announcement marked the first time the often-defiant IOC publicly acknowledged that it would consider postponing the Summer Olympics, which had been scheduled to begin on July 24.
With the Tokyo Olympics pushed off the summer TV schedule, NBC not only finds itself having to make up for the loss of more than two weeks of programming, but it will also lose out on a third-quarter ad sales haul of $1.25 billion. That said, the network will catch a break thanks to the language of its rights deal with the IOC; according to executives with insight into the agreement, the bulk of NBC’s $1.4 billion payment to the governing body wasn’t due until the day of the opening ceremony.
In a statement released this afternoon, NBC said it is “actively working with our advertising partners to navigate this postponement, and we’re exploring all options to best serve their brands and our consumers this year, and into 2021.” The company went on to add that it has faith that “the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee will put on an exceptional Games next year, and that the Olympic flame will once again unite the world and provide a light at the end of this tunnel.”
Speaking to investors this earlier this month at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom conference, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said the company had insurance protections in place in the event the Games were impacted by the coronavirus. “Should there be some disruption … we anticipate these kind of things in the big contract language,” Roberts said. “There should be no losses should there not be an Olympics; there just wouldn’t be a profit this year.”
NBC’s parent company this morning warned investors that the COVID-19 pandemic could have a “material adverse impact on our results of operations over the near-to-medium term.”
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Comcast disclosed that disruptions to the TV marketplace and the media landscape in general would make the prospect of offering further guidance for 2020 a challenge. “At this point, it is impossible to predict such extent and duration and the degree to which supply and demand for our products and services, including advertising, will be affected,” the company wrote in its 8-K filing.
The Olympics disruption aside, Comcast has in the last few weeks been forced to temporarily shutter its theme parks, delay the theatrical distribution of its studio releases and freeze the production of its TV programming.