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JSF chief Tsuyoshi Aoki disappointed 2020 Olympics won’t showcase swimming finals in prime time

The Japan Swimming Federation conceded defeat on Thursday in its effort to have the 2020 Tokyo Olympics swimming finals aired domestically in the evening.

The finals now appear to be locked into morning time slots in Tokyo. Local organizers and FINA, swimming’s world governing body, had pushed to move the finals from early evening to night time, but television rights holders in the United States wanted the marquee events scheduled for prime time in North America.

At a board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday, FINA deferred to the overseas broadcasters’ demands and announced its agreement to hold morning finals in Tokyo.

“Unfortunately, it is what it is,” said Tsuyoshi Aoki, the federation’s chairman. “We wanted to show the Japanese fans the swimming finals in Japanese prime time.”

The huge sums American broadcasters pay to televise the Olympics gives them a great deal of leverage when it comes to the timing of events. Previously, the swimming finals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and figure skating at February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics were held in the morning to accommodate rights holders in the United States.