Tokyo 2020 unveils $12.6bn budget but marathon costs still unaccounted for

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium. Photos provided by: Japan Sports Promotion Center. © JAPAN SPORT COUNCIL

The organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are predicting that the Games will cost ¥1.35tn ($12.6bn/£9.5bn) to stage, although this figure does not yet include the estimated ¥3bn it will cost to move the marathon and race walk to Sapporo.

The overall ¥1.35tn figure is unchanged since the last time the organisers revealed the Games budget last year, with ¥30bn of increased income from domestic sponsorship and healthy ticket sales offsetting increased expenditure for transport and security.

However, Tokyo officials admitted that it is yet to be decided whether the local organisers or the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will foot the ¥3bn it is likely to cost to move the marathon and race walk. The IOC angered Tokyo’s local government in October this year when it demanded that both events be moved to the northern Japanese city of Sapporo to protect athletes from the worst of the summer heat in Japan’s capital city.

A decision about who will pay is expected to be made in the new year, but the organisers have said they will use a contingency fund if the IOC declines to cover the cost.

The Games have a ¥27bn contingency fund set aside to cover potential natural disasters, as was the case when Typhoon Hagibis disrupted this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Tokyo 2020’s finance director Gakuji Ito, said that unforeseen events could yet cause the Games to exceed the overall budget: “These are things we are not able to forecast so if unexpected things were to occur then it might exceed ¥1.35tn,” he told Reuters.

There is some dispute about the real cost of organising the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which is split between the organising committee and local and national governments.

The organisers claim the national government has spent ¥150bn, mainly to cover the cost of the new National Stadium, although a report by the Board of Audit of Japan estimated it had actually spent ¥1.06tn between the Games being awarded in 2013 and 2018, nearly ten times the budget. Organisers dispute this figure saying that includes non-games-related expenditure.

The IOC wants organisers to exclude wider infrastructure costs from their Games budgets, wary that ballooning costs will dissuade other cities from bidding for the event.

The $12.6bn Tokyo budget far exceeds the $6.9bn the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics are projected to cost, while the Paris 2024 budget amounts to $7.6bn.

However, the Tokyo organising committee has succeeded in offsetting some of this figure with record-breaking sponsorship sales. The organisation, helped by Japanese marketing agency Dentsu, has so far generated over $3.3bn in sponsorship revenues, doubling it earliest projections.

Demand for tickets to the event has also exceeded supply almost twenty times over. On Wednesday, organisers said they had received 23 million applications for just 1 million tickets in the latest lottery for Japan residents. Overall, 3.57 million tickets have been awarded to Japanese residents across all of the ticket lotteries.

In other news, the IOC, World Athletics and Tokyo 2020 approved the new route for next year’s Olympic marathons yesterday (Thursday). Both the men and women’s marathons will start at 7.00am in Sapporo’s central Odori Park, consisting of a 20-kilometre loop and two laps of a 10-kilometre section before finishing in the same location. The Sapporo TV Tower and Toyohira River will feature prominently in the coverage.

All men and women’s marathon and race walk events will be held between 6 and 9 August with the men’s marathon taking place on the final day of the Olympic fortnight, as is customary.

Read this: How Tokyo 2020 smashed the domestic sponsorship record for the Olympics