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Sponsors restate commitment to ‘safe’ Tokyo Olympic Games

(Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Olympic sponsors are stressing the importance of continuity and a “safe” Tokyo Olympic Games following the IOC’s postponement of the Tokyo Games.

Of the 14 Olympic Worldwide Partners, five – Procter & Gamble, Intel, Airbnb, Coca-Cola and Samsung Electronics – have publicly reaffirmed their commitment to the Games.

Coca-Cola said in a statement: “As the longest standing sponsor of the Olympic Games, we remain committed to working together with the IOC and TOCOG [Tokyo Organising Committee] to create a successful and safe event.”

Meanwhile, Samsung said in a statement to Reuters: “We will continue to work closely with the IOC and Games organisers to ensure a safe and memorable Olympic Games.”

Earlier this week, Michal Payne, who represented the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and joint partners Coca-Cola and Chinese diary brand Mengniu in deals with the IOC, predicted that the TOP Partners he worked with would support any IOC decision.

He told SportBusiness: “If there is a postponement of a year it probably serves their marketing agenda even better as right now campaigns have had to be put on hold.”

At a domestic sponsorship level, an official of Tokyo 2020 Official Partner Japan Airlines told the Nippon.com news site: “We will continue preparing for the Games.” A senior official at another sponsor said: “We hope to keep making contributions so that the Olympics will be held in an environment safe for athletes and all other parties concerned.”

Read this: Sponsorship to drive IOC revenue growth in 2017 to 2020 cycle

According to SportBusiness research, the 2017 to 2020 Olympic cycle will be the richest ever for sponsorship revenue.

Christian Voigt, vice-president of marketing development at the IOC, told SportBusiness in December that sponsorship will represent a far greater proportion of the IOC’s income in the cycle because of “significant increases” in rights fees at TOP partner level.

In the previous cycle, from 2013 to 2016, sponsorship income of about $1bn (€900m) represented about 18 per cent of overall IOC revenue, with the vast majority – 78 per cent – generated from broadcast rights.

In the current cycle, the IOC’s new pricing policy – TOP partnerships are pitched at about $200m per cycle, but flexible both ways – means the sponsorship component will be far greater.

At 14, the total number of TOP sponsors for Tokyo 2020 is also the highest since the programme was launched in 1985 and three more than Rio 2016.

SportBusiness estimates sponsorship income will rise 146 per cent to $2.46bn in the cycle.