The Tokyo Olympics will need rescue if the games go ahead without spectators

The Tokyo Olympics will require a public bailout of about $ 800 million if the games are held behind closed doors while organizers delay a decision on national spectators until the last possible moment.

Recent budgets show that the organizers of Tokyo 2020 are still taking full stages. Having already spent the billions of yen collected from ticket sales, a new subsidy from taxpayers would be the only way to finance the refunds, according to an analysis by the Financial Times ’accounts of the organizing committee.

With the Japanese government determined to move forward and hold the games from July 23, the decision to allow local fans to enter the stadiums has become one of the biggest controversies surrounding the Olympics.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Cornwall, Yoshihide Suga, the prime minister, pointed out that Japan was determined to allow spectators if they could.

“Considering the level of Covid-19 infection, we decided [on capacity] in accordance with the numbers allowed at other sporting events, ”he said.

If spectators are banned in whole or in part, the city of Tokyo will be forced to refund its tickets after accepting. underwrite the cost to stage delayed games.

Of the revenue of 66 668 billion ($ 6.1 billion) that the organizing committee has projected for this year, 90 90 billion ($ 822 million) is assumed from ticket sales, or about half of commercial revenues for Tokyo 2020. The rest comes already from public funding.

A balance sheet released from Tokyo 2020 last week showed a liability of ¥ 118.3 billion for the advance payments received. Most of this represents ticket revenue from the Japanese public, which released its money almost two years ago.

Doctors and public health experts have advised Japan to hold the Olympics without spectators. avoid spreading Covid-19, but organizers and sponsors are desperate to keep at least a few fans to get a return on their investment.

Shigeru Omi, the government’s chief medical adviser for the pandemic, ordered him to avoid a “festive mood” at the games. Fans who celebrate and drink will lead to the kind of high-risk socialization that spreads the disease, he warned.

“If it is held, then no spectator is the only option,” Haruo Ozaki, president of the Tokyo Medical Association, said at a recent press conference.

Tokyo continues to report 300-400 new cases of Covid-19 each day and should remain in a state of emergency until June 20. Olympic organizers have delayed a decision on spectators until the end of June, hoping the virus situation will improve.

Sponsors are impatient have spectators since they have given away tickets to some of the biggest moments of the games in competition and other marketing events.

“A big problem for sponsors is whether they can allow the winners of consumer campaigns that they started running before the games last year to attend,” said a marketing director who advises several sponsors. Tokyo 2020 on how to manage games.

“Most sponsors have already profited a lot from ticket campaigns. If those tickets are canceled, they will face a lot of backlash.”

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