Delayed Olympics: Who pays bills for another year?
With the Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021, now comes the multibillion-dollar question: Who pays the bills for the delay, and how large will they be?
The most likely answer is - primarily Japanese taxpayers.
"Of course there will be costs," organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto said when the postponement was announced. "As for how much, we have no figures with us right now. As for who will shoulder these costs? Needless to say, they are not going to be easy discussions, so we are not sure how long they will take."
The Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei put the added cost at US$2.7 billion, citing an estimate from local organisers.
Tokyo organisers will have to renegotiate new leases on venues, pay for maintenance at arenas, and maybe find different fields of play. They will also have to deal with real estate developers who are already selling off thousands of apartments at what will be the Athletes Village. The organising committee also employs 3,500 staff members, and some may lose their jobs to cost cutting.
Tokyo, driven by advertising giant Dentsu Inc., has sold US$3.3 billion in local sponsorships, more than twice any previous Olympics. Those brands will be clamouring to know what they get for their money. Refunds? Make-good deals? New contracts?
And nothing much can be done until new dates are set to replace what was to be this year's Olympics: July 24 through Aug. 9, 2020.