Companies sponsoring the Tokyo Olympics appear ready to continue supporting the games, but are likely to be burdened with extra work following a decision on the postponement of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic such as negotiations to extend their sponsorship contracts.
“Shouldering additional costs will be unavoidable,” said a representative at one company sponsoring the games.
The International Olympic Committee decided Tuesday to postpone the Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for this summer, by about one year, after telephone talks between IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese officials including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that day.
Dozens of Japanese and foreign companies serve as sponsors of the Olympics, including the 14 top-tier “worldwide Olympic partners” such as Toyota Motor Corp., Panasonic Corp. and Coca-Cola Co.
An official of Japan Airlines, an “official” partner, said, “We will continue preparing for the games.” A senior official at another sponsor firm 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.”
“The worst scenario of the games being canceled has been avoided,” said an upbeat business leader.
With the sponsorship contracts other than those of the 14 top-tier sponsors slated to expire at the end of December this year in principle, negotiations for extensions are expected to begin in earnest from this point on.
“We can’t say anything at this stage,” the business leader said about the possibility of sponsor firms having to pay additional contract fees.
An official at major confectionery-maker Meiji Co., a “gold” partner, sounded cautious. “The postponement may have a huge impact on our business, including the timing of product launches.”
An official at another sponsor firm also expressed some concern, saying, “Our in-house department for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics needs to be kept intact for longer, and the move will affect company-wide personnel allocation.”
Some major Olympic sponsors in the United States, such as General Electric Co., Intel Corp. and Visa Inc., have also welcomed the postponement of the Tokyo Games, but have yet to address issues regarding their sponsorship contracts.