Sports Business Daily is reporting that its sources are saying momentum is growing to move the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The International Olympic Committee said it “remains fully committed” to the summer 2020 event, but that statement notably doesn’t preclude the notion of postponing the games.
One challenge is that qualifying events for many sports have been affected by social distancing in countries around the world.
While some have observed the Olympics could proceed without spectators, the idea of bringing athletes from around the world into a central location, even without any other crowds, isn’t sitting well with many medical experts.
Many sports around the world, including in the U.S., originally planned to move forward without fans in the stands, but those plans were mostly scrapped in exchange for a complete delay of seasons.
Meanwhile, the United States’ Olympic and Paralympic Committee is planning a two day teleconference March 18 and 19. The call had been planned before the outbreak, but now it will likely be dominated with coronavirus discussion, reports SBD.
The IOC has been the target of criticism that it hasn’t been more responsive about what it plans to do with the Olympics.
Of course, the Olympics are a multibillion dollar event that, in turn, generates billions of dollars in economic benefits to the host country and worldwide broadcast rights holders.
U.S. broadcast rights owner NBC, meanwhile, has said it has insurance to cover a cancellation of the Olympics — though it’s not immediately clear if that would cover a postponement.