COVID Effect: Tokyo Olympics without Spectators

COVID Effect: Tokyo Olympics without Spectators

For the first time since the beginning of the Olympics in 1896. King Georgios I welcomed athletes from 13 different nations along with 60,000 spectators at the Athens games. At the Tokyo Olympics, no foreign visitors will be allowed to see the games. Thanks to the pandemic.

Japan banned international visitors from entering the country in December 2020 to control the spread of the Coronavirus. This ban was extended in March 2021 and expected to lift a week before the Olympics begin. The Japanese Government said that allowing overseas fans would worsen the COVID-19 situation in the country. With the new and far more contagious variants being found in other countries, allowing foreign visitors now can impact the raising of cases and games have to be stalled midway. Japan has seen a small COVID outbreak, but its death rate is high compared to other countries. Reuters new report suggests that Japan has only been able to vaccinate close to 13% of their entire population, which is very less for a country that is hosting biggest sporting extravaganza.

The chief executive of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, Toshiro Muto, informed in a news conference that they will cancel and refund the money spent by overseas fans on tickets. There are close to 6,00,000 tickets purchased by foreign residents. He also confirmed that the same would be done for the Paralympics games. The Olympic games budget shot up by $2.8 billion, an extra 22% against that $12.6 billion that was estimated sometime before the postponement. This was due to the delay in staging the event, measures are taken to combat the Coronavirus, and renegotiations of necessary contracts, as detailed by cbssports.

About 80% of money spent on organizing the Olympics would be recovered from broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and event-related tourism. Fans are an integral part of any sporting event, and if the event is as big and as prestigious as Olympics the tourism doubles. By banning fans from other countries, there will be great revenue loss that the IOC and the Japanese organizing committee have to bear.

We will have to wait and see how the IOC and the Japanese will handle this issue.