Olympics Coronavirus Impact

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Some if this was already discussed in V&N, but now that there's a dedicated forum this seems worthy of its own thread.

It feels unlikely to me that things will be able to go on with business as usual at this point.

What are the options?
  • Delay the Olympics a year.
  • All competitions in empty stadiums.
  • Allow domestic attendees, but only foreign competitors and credentialed members of the press.
 

jon abbey

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Dick Pound said a few days ago it's unlikely it would be postponed, and they plan to make a decision in May.

 

snowmanny

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There was a flu epidemic around Nagano around the time of the 1998 Winter Olympics. There was an outbreak of flu/norovirus in Pyeongchang before the 2018 Winter Olympics.

On the one hand maybe everything will have settled down by this summer. On the other hand, if public perception remains the same over the next four months I could see the whole thing getting shut down by a single confirmed case of Coronavirus in the area.
 

Cokes311

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The Tokyo Marathon was this morning, and they decided 2 weeks ago to tell the 38000 runners who trained and planned for months not to come. They ran the race with just the 200 or so elite runners and asked people not to come watch.

I don't think we'll still be worrying at this level come May, but Japan made this choice at a point where a lot of people probably lost a lot of money, and when there was only one confirmed case in-country. They're displaying an abundance of caution that says to me that these Olympics really are at risk for some dramatic impact.
 

IdiotKicker

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As long as the mortality rate on this thing stays in the range it's been in through the early part of the outbreak, I think the only item off the table is running the Olympics as normal. The best hope is that we find out the mortality rate is lower through either better treatment or underreporting of mild cases, but that's a hope, not a certainty right now. As to what they decide to do, I don't really have any idea, but I would imagine that we're about 4-6 weeks away from finding out what that decision is.
 

Ale Xander

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So what exactly is the rationale for no possibility of a 1 year or 2 year delay?

Not moving to other countries and not postponing a month or two on the other hand makes perfect sense to me.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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So what exactly is the rationale for no possibility of a 1 year or 2 year delay?

Not moving to other countries and not postponing a month or two on the other hand makes perfect sense to me.
Delaying a month or two would sink much of the TV revenue, more than likely.

Edit: curious if networks can buy insurance for that kind of thing.
 

edoug

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Delaying a month or two would sink much of the TV revenue, more than likely.

Edit: curious if networks can buy insurance for that kind of thing.

"Jefferies analysts estimate the insured cost of the 2020 Olympics at $2 billion, including TV rights and sponsorship, plus $600 million for hospitality."

The IOC gets insurance. Not saying networks don't get any insurance but it would seem a little expensive when they can easily just air other programming.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Dehere

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Sorry I don’t have a link for this but one issue in delaying the games is that the athletes village has already been sold to private buyers as condos or rental apartments and those people are expecting to move in shortly after the games.

I guess with enough money and political muscle you can find a way to account for those people but that’s a pretty significant obstacle to a delay.
 

Quintanariffic

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How is this still a full go? They are going to get so far into this just to postpone it for a year.
We are 4 months out. A lot can change in a week, let alone a month. I think it's appropriate for them to plan for all eventualities and then make a call when they have to - probably around Memorial Day. Don't understand why everyone is trying to get their personal need-holes filled (not you - more the media/Twitterati) by trying to force a decision at such an early time.
 

bsj

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We are 4 months out. A lot can change in a week, let alone a month. I think it's appropriate for them to plan for all eventualities and then make a call when they have to - probably around Memorial Day. Don't understand why everyone is trying to get their personal need-holes filled (not you - more the media/Twitterati) by trying to force a decision at such an early time.
I just know I would not want to be an athlete trying to train right now. Imagine a relay team?
 

Ale Xander

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I just know I would not want to be an athlete trying to train right now. Imagine a relay team?
The US can train zero and still get a medal for the majority of the relays (track + swimming)
 

Quintanariffic

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I just know I would not want to be an athlete trying to train right now. Imagine a relay team?
Right, but every country is facing the same challenge.

What countries are legitimate medal threats where the athletes won't have their training routines materially disrupted?

Either way, I don't think that's a reason to be cancelling the Games all up 4 months in advance. What should be going on is a lot of planning/prep at the NOC level to ensure the athletes can train as safely and effectively as possible.
 

bsj

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Right, but every country is facing the same challenge.

What countries are legitimate medal threats where the athletes won't have their training routines materially disrupted?

Either way, I don't think that's a reason to be cancelling the Games all up 4 months in advance. What should be going on is a lot of planning/prep at the NOC level to ensure the athletes can train as safely and effectively as possible.

I hear you. Look...I would LOOOOOOOVE if this thing makes a sharp u-turn and these things can happen. I guess they have another month or so to hope
 

hunter05

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Good. As someone who lives in Japan, I want it canceled/postponed/whatever. If things are somehow back to normal by July, then great, but I do not think that will be the case. I’ve also got serious concerns about how Abe is handling the epidemic and feel the Olympics are influencing everything.
 

Fred not Lynn

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I just know I would not want to be an athlete trying to train right now. Imagine a relay team?
In a normal year, right about now you’re not training for the Olympics... you’re training for the Olympic Trials.

Most teams in most sports in most countries haven’t been picked yet...and I can’t imagine how they can be at this point.

And for those who have already qualified or otherwise been selected, does their qualification just carry over? A lot can happen in a year, and maybe someone else is better by then...
 

Tokyo Sox

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Good. As someone who lives in Japan, I want it canceled/postponed/whatever. If things are somehow back to normal by July, then great, but I do not think that will be the case. I’ve also got serious concerns about how Abe is handling the epidemic and feel the Olympics are influencing everything.
Yep. There's no way they'll hold it now, and the writing has been on the wall for some time. What's really frustrating is that i'm sure while they've been hoping against hope they could still hold it, they've been slow to implement stricter regulations out of fear it would look like there's a problem. We've probably lost valuable time here on that front and it won't surprise me at all if they do move to something much stricter as soon as it's officially postponed.
 

InstaFace

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saying it's a bad deal for the host city (which is mostly true for Winter rather than Summer) is not the same as saying it's something people don't flock to attend, or plan their schedules around to watch. Like the world cup, it's all anyone talks about for two weeks.
 

jon abbey

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saying it's a bad deal for the host city (which is mostly true for Winter rather than Summer)
“As the costs of hosting have skyrocketed, revenues cover only a fraction of expenditures. Beijing’s 2008 Summer Olympics generated $3.6 billion in revenue, compared with over $40 billion in costs, and London’s Summer Games in 2012 generated $5.2 billion compared with $18 billion in costs. What’s more, much of the revenue doesn’t go to the host—the IOC keeps more than half of all television revenue, typically the single largest chunk of money generated by the games.”

 
The Olympics might be rescheduled to next spring, instead of the summer:


Not sure that's the brightest idea - that could coincide with crunch time in European soccer, basketball and hockey playoffs, the Masters and early golf season, and much else besides. There's much less going on globally in the late July to early August window, isn't there?
 

InstaFace

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“As the costs of hosting have skyrocketed, revenues cover only a fraction of expenditures. Beijing’s 2008 Summer Olympics generated $3.6 billion in revenue, compared with over $40 billion in costs, and London’s Summer Games in 2012 generated $5.2 billion compared with $18 billion in costs. What’s more, much of the revenue doesn’t go to the host—the IOC keeps more than half of all television revenue, typically the single largest chunk of money generated by the games.”

We might need to split this into an Economics of the Olympic Games thread. But anyway: These numbers cook the books by more than a little. From the article:

...Roads, train lines, and airports need to be upgraded or constructed.

Altogether, these infrastructure costs range from $5 billion to over $50 billion. Many countries justify such expenditures in the hopes that the spending will outlive the Olympic Games. For instance, some 85 percent [PDF] of the Sochi 2014 Games’ more than $50 billion budget went to building non-sports infrastructure from scratch. More than half of the Beijing 2008 budget of $45 billion went to rail, roads, and airports, while nearly a fourth went to environmental clean-up efforts.
Those are expenditures that they might have made eventually anyway were it not for the games, and as public infrastructure improvements, they generally benefit the populations they serve and increase long-term economic value to the region. Those numbers are not calculated here, though I believe they were in Zimbalist's book (except that was published long enough ago that Beijing, Sochi etc weren't yet known and those were the biggest such infrastructure investments). It also counts indirect spending such as that, but ignores indirect revenue, e.g. increased occupancy taxes for hotel and other lodging, spending by tourists while at the games, and other temporary taxes.

Basically, it's a bad investment, but not nearly as bad as the recent numbers make it seem. If it weren't for Rio's corruption on their various construction projects, the city might have turned a (small) profit. As long as spending on the white elephants is minimal, and they don't fail to do commonsense stuff like actually convert the olympic village into housing, it need not end up a boondoggle. So, fine, it's not a good deal for the host city, but neither is it a terrible one.

Still doesn't change my point though.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Aside from the point about hosting, you are factually incorrect. Do you have any data to support your assertions re: sponsors and brand?
McDonalds and Budweiser are pretty big fish to let squirm off the hook...

United Airlines, too but Delta picked that up.

L.A. Could help the IOC bounce back (just as L.A. did in 1984, but we’ll see.
 

Fred not Lynn

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saying it's a bad deal for the host city (which is mostly true for Winter rather than Summer) is not the same as saying it's something people don't flock to attend, or plan their schedules around to watch. Like the world cup, it's all anyone talks about for two weeks.
I wasn’t necessarily saying it’s a bad deal for the host city. IOC Has come around a bit on that, I am more saying that the thought of hosting a Games doesn’t get a fuzzy reception anymore. When a place like Calgary, where they had a great AND profitable Games votes OVERWHELMINGLY against bidding for an Olympics they would pretty much have been been a lock to get, you have to assess the cachet of the brand. “Olympic” used to be synonymous with “Excellent”. Now when you say the word, people think of Dr. Nassar’s wandering digits and the fact that a major participant is allowed to cheat at will...

Also - Winter is much more manageable, and potentially profitable...not sure where you’re getting that it’s a worse deal than summer from.
 

InstaFace

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I wasn’t necessarily saying it’s a bad deal for the host city. IOC Has come around a bit on that, I am more saying that the thought of hosting a Games doesn’t get a fuzzy reception anymore. When a place like Calgary, where they had a great AND profitable Games votes OVERWHELMINGLY against bidding for an Olympics they would pretty much have been been a lock to get, you have to assess the cachet of the brand. “Olympic” used to be synonymous with “Excellent”. Now when you say the word, people think of Dr. Nassar’s wandering digits and the fact that a major participant is allowed to cheat at will...

Also - Winter is much more manageable, and potentially profitable...not sure where you’re getting that it’s a worse deal than summer from.
I think when someone says Olympics, people think Michael Phelps and Simone Biles and gold medals with the national anthem playing. They think of bars erupting with "U-S-A! U-S-A!" chants. They think of their normal lives stopping for 2 weeks and making some appointment-viewing to see their favorite stuff, some of which they only bother to see every 4 years. They think of the personalities and human-interest stories. It's pageantry as much as sport.

The IOC has been well-known for decades now to be run by some of the most corrupt shitheads in the history of shitheadery, and it has done absolutely nothing to hurt the appeal of the games themselves to viewers or attendees. Ticket interest for the games is routinely oversubscribed, both by residents and visitors, by like 10x and they have pretty crazy lottery systems to award those tickets.

There is absolutely no evidence that people don't love the Olympics, both watching it and attending it. There is plenty of evidence that host cities don't like kowtowing to the IOC and are skeptical about the economics of it, as well they should be. I just argued that impact is overstated, but either way it's a separate matter.

Your statement above was "the Olympic brand is waning", and "sponsors are pulling out". Do you have any evidence* of those assertions?

(as for Winter, they almost literally had to beg cities to offer to host 2026, the winner is a former host city that will be reusing / renovating existing facilities, and they basically only had one real offer for 2022).

* other than a decline of interest by host cities, to the point where host cities have some negotiating leverage rather than the IOC holding all of it. Which frankly is just the market stabilizing after the pendulum swung way too far in favor of the IOC for a few decades.
 

Quintanariffic

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McDonalds and Budweiser are pretty big fish to let squirm off the hook...

United Airlines, too but Delta picked that up.

L.A. Could help the IOC bounce back (just as L.A. did in 1984, but we’ll see.
McD left the IOC. Airbnb and Intel came in, among others, at 4-8x the cost. You don't need to hold a bake sale for the IOC.

Bud left the USOC (didn't have a global deal with the IOC). I have little doubt that the USOC will fill the beer category for more than Bud was paying.

As for United, based on what's been publicly reported, they were paying about $5M/yr for 4 years and have been replaced by Delta at $50M/yr for 8 years.

They reportedly join Nike and Comcast as 8 year partners of the LA28/USOC joint venture, so that's $1.2B in the bank 8 years out before they've really even started selling.

I think the Olympics in the US and globally will be just fine. And I'd agree that LA28 will be a catalyst for its continued good health.
 

Ale Xander

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US Olympic governing bodies to lose more than $120 million. Probably closer to $150 million as 7 of the 50 didn't respond.

 

Ale Xander

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Not a fan of these "simplified" Games, whatever that is.