IOC seeking 'equitable solutions' with broadcasters over timing of Tokyo 2020 payments
By Jonathan Rest
Consideration is being given to allowing Olympic Games rights-holders to defer their Tokyo-related payments by a year, despite the impact that would have on international federations.
Olympics broadcasters traditionally make their payments in the months leading up to the games, but with Tokyo now set to start on 23 July, 2021 rather than 24 July, 2020, discussions are set to take place with the International Olympic Committee about a new payment structure.
Broadcast revenue accounts for over 70 per cent of the IOC's income, providing much needed cash for many of the 33 international federations that will make up the sports programme in Tokyo next year.
The IOC and the Japanese government officially postponed Tokyo 2020 to 2021 on 24 March, with the new dates of 23 July to 8 August confirmed on Monday.
On a teleconference with some 200 international media today, Timo Lumme, the managing director of IOC television and marketing services, said: “The broadcaster obligations were targeted for this summer, and now we are going a year later.
“Just having made this announcement, we are only just getting into this and talking to all broadcasters to come up with an equitable solution.
“But it is very early and all these arrangements are subject to individual contracts. We are trying to find a fair solution to support the broadcasters as they plan for coverage of the games in 2021.”
Lumme continued: “This is all part of an overall plan that the IOC is working on. Both on the supply side from broadcasters and the demand side from our constituents. This is all being worked on.”
Asked what the strategy was to “get money to the international federations,” IOC sports director Kit McConnell said: “We are very conscious of the impact of the coronavirus across the world of sport. We know international federations have lost a number of events and that revenues from the next calendar year will be impacted as well.
“We are working with the Tokyo organising committee and have had talks with international federations already. We are looking at the impact in terms of calendar adjustments. But it is too early.”
Last week, IOC president Thomas Bach said that the four top-tier ‘TOP sponsors’ whose contracts were due to run out after this year’s games - Atos, Dow Chemical, Procter & Gamble and General Electric – will have their contracts rolled over to 2021.
Lumme said the IOC was in the process of “drawing up guidelines” regarding the wider commercial picture for a delayed Olympics, but noted: “In general NOCs will in the main be free to take the decision themselves whether to extend local partnerships that have been in place.”
The IOC has established a taskforce to oversee all aspects of moving the Olympics to 2021, and Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, said the athletes’ village is “absolutely” a priority when it comes to locking down venues.
Apartments that make up the village in Tokyo Bay were set to be sold off after the games this year.
Dubi said: “The village is the first priority. It’s a fantastic development. And yes it is part of priority to re-secure this. It is absolutely part of that urgency to tick those boxes.”