It may seem like Coronavirus has been with us forever, but believe it or not, it is less than two months since we first heard about the virus. Since then it has had a dramatic impact on everything from manufacturing to the tourist industry.
One of the countries set to lose the most (lives aside for just a second) due to the outbreak is China’s neighbours, Japan. The country has invested more than twelve billion dollars into the Olympics this year, which are set to be hosted in Tokyo. The country has had 8-00 cases of the virus and this has put the event under jeopardy.
The Olympic commission had this to say, “Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host safe and secure Games. We have full confidence that the relevant authorities, in particular in Japan and China, will take all the necessary measures to address the situation.”
The commissions, whose role it is to make sure that the games are hosted safely, has been in regular contact with the partners whose sponsorship help the Olympic “machine” keep going. These are likes of Visa, Dow, Bridgestone and Coca Cola.
Keith Cawley, a senior communications manager at Bridgestone has said:
“At this time, our preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are continuing as planned. However, we are monitoring this situation very closely and taking the necessary steps as it evolves.”
Visa also commented saying:
“We have full confidence that the relevant organizing bodies will take the necessary measures to effectively manage the situation.”
Given the investment of these major cooperations, it is important not to scare them off! Often the level of their investment can hit the hundreds of millions mark. For instance Alibaba, a Chinese retailer has allegedly given more than 800 million in order to partner on six games.
A spokesperson for one of the major sponsors has said:
“It’s so far out at this moment that there are just so many things that can happen between now and then. got five or six months. A lot could change in five or six weeks with the coronavirus. Certainly, we’ll have some contingency plans, as we always do.”
Rob Prazmark the CEO of 21 Marketing, who is a long term Olympic consultant said,
“I don’t think anybody can predict what’s going to happen with this. I think the IOC is telegraphing their cautiousness, but they’re on top of it and they’re not going to make a stupid decision, one way or the other.”
He also took the time to weigh in with his understanding of the investment by sponsors suggesting it can exceed the billion-dollar mark.
Just take NBCUniversal as an example. They have invested a staggering 1.4 billion for the exclusive broadcasting rights in the US. That is an awful lot of money riding on the games going ahead. But the broadcasting giant is equivocal on the situation, stating:
“The safety of our employees is always our top priority, but there is no impact on our preparations at this time.”
Also sponsoring the games is United Airlines who have been involved for more than four decades, in particular, they have sponsored the US Olympic team. It is rumoured that this costs them in excess of four million dollars a year for the privilege. However, it seems that partnership will be usurped by Delta airline as of 2028. Although that date seems some way off as the organisers fret over what will happen with the current event but try and maintain calm. As Prazmark says
“[The IOC has] been in business since 1896, so they’ve been down this path before. I think they’re going to do this very calmly and logically. They, more than anybody, understand what’s at stake here.”