Two-thirds of sponsors unsure about 2021 Olympics: poll

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) adresses a news conference after a meeting of IOC's executive board, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 10, 2020. (IOC/Greg Martin/Handout via REUTERS)
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Updated 12 June 2020

Two-thirds of sponsors unsure about 2021 Olympics: poll

  • It will be shared between the government of Japan and Tokyo city
  • Because of the postponement, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion

TOKYO: Two-thirds of Tokyo 2020’s corporate sponsors are undecided on whether to continue supporting the Games now the event has been pushed to 2021, according to a new survey.
In the poll published late Thursday by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, 65 percent of the sponsors surveyed said they had not made up their minds about whether to extend their financial backing for another year.
According to NHK, some companies voiced concerns that their promotional activities around the Games could be curtailed due to crowd-reduction measures imposed against the coronavirus.
They were also worried the Games could be scrapped altogether, with several senior Olympic officials saying the Tokyo Olympics must take place next year or not at all.
Many also said they had not decided whether to extend their sponsorship because they had not yet opened negotiations with the organizers — suggesting they may be open to persuasion.
More than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents said coronavirus had taken a toll on their own financial situation, as Olympic organizers face having to fund the unprecedented postponement of the Games.
Tokyo 2020 organizers have refused to put a price tag on the additional costs of postponing the Games by one year, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set aside $800 million.
According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion, shared between the organizing committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.
Tokyo 2020 “Gold” sponsors include such Japanese household names as Canon, NEC and Asahi Breweries, while car giant Toyota is a worldwide Olympic sponsor.
According to the latest version of the Tokyo 2020 budget, local sponsorship was due to bring in $3.3 billion, more than half the projected revenues of $5.9 billion.
Since the postponement, officials have been stressing the need to slim down the Games, both in terms of costs and organization.
IOC President Thomas Bach told AFP in an interview this week they were searching for ways to “simplify the organization of the Games, how we can reduce the complexity of the Games, how we can save costs for these postponed Games.”
Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said there are 200 proposals on the table for simplifying the Olympics, but has refused to give further details.
For its survey, NHK surveyed 78 Olympic and Paralympic sponsors, receiving responses from 57.

 


Lin Dan retirement ends era of ‘Chinese sports superstar’

Updated 08 July 2020

Lin Dan retirement ends era of ‘Chinese sports superstar’

  • The era of the superstar that once belonged to Chinese sports has faded

SHANGHAI: The retirement of two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan signals the end of a golden era of Chinese sporting superstars, state media said on Tuesday.

Arguably the greatest badminton player of all time, the 36-year-old said on Saturday that he was bringing the curtain down on a career that also brought five world titles.

NBA All-Star Yao Ming, Olympic gold-medal hurdler Liu Xiang and two-time tennis Grand Slam champion Li Na have all retired in the last decade.

“With the ‘Super Dan’ curtain call, people cannot help but sigh,” Xinhua news agency said.

“The era of the superstar that once belonged to Chinese sports has faded.

“When will the next Lin Dan appear? Or when will the next Yao Ming, Liu Xiang and Li Na appear?

“Where is the next Chinese sports superstar who will create a collective memory for us?”

The quartet were not just world leaders in their sport and popular in China, but also had “considerable influence in the international arena and became a window for the world to understand China,” Xinhua said.

Of prominent Chinese athletes left, women’s volleyball player Zhu Ting has the potential to rise to superstar level, Xinhua said, while disgraced swimmer Sun Yang “enjoys high popularity (in China), but unfortunately he is banned.” 

The 28-year-old is appealing against an 8-year ban for refusing to give a doping sample. The three-time Olympic freestyle champion’s career will effectively be over if he loses his appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

China has world champions in other sports, and finished third behind the US and Britain in the medal table at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but they are not generally well-known even inside the country, Xinhua said.

Table tennis player Zhang Jike, another three-time Olympic gold medalist, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Lin, said the Oriental Sports Daily.

But at 32 his best days are behind him and as far back as 2016 he signaled his intention to retire, before having a change of heart.

“When will the next Lin Dan and China’s next sports superstar appear again?” asked the newspaper.

“This question may not be answered in a short space of time.”