Coronavirus cancelling the 2020 Olympics?

by Cambree Bernkopf

Summer 2020 Olympics are set to take place in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympics have sold more than $1.25 billion in advertising, but what about the coronavirus outbreak there? As of March 4, there are more than 1000 cases with eight deaths in Japan. The coronavirus, originating in China, is not something to be dealt with lightly. It is highly contagious. This has raised a lot of concern for people and companies planning to have the Olympics.

People from other countries attending the Olympics would go and further spread the virus. As Stanford University professor Yvonne Maldonado put it, with the Olympics, “You bring a lot of people together, and then you ship them back all over the world: That’s the perfect way to transmit.” The infectious disease specialist added, “If you really want to disseminate a disease, that would be the way to do it.”

Japanese officials and Olympics organizers have said the Games will proceed as planned, but, “Postponing the games is a possibility,” said Seiko Hashimoto, Japan’s Olympic minister. As the outbreak expands, companies that have invested their money in the games and signed up for the ads are concerned that this world-wide sporting event could be cancelled or rescheduled. The coronavirus could disrupt not only NBC Universal’s coverage of the Games but also its advertising, sponsorships, and promotional events. “It would be disastrous if it’s canceled,” said Steven Moy, the chief executive of the ad agency Barbarian. “There could be a very dramatic impact on the whole economy.”

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