There’s an old saying that goes “if a tree fell in a forest, and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Here’s a newer version of that saying. “If the Olympics are held and there’s no one around to watch it, do the gold medals really count?” We could find that answer out in a few months, because the Tokyo Olympics are set to start on July 23 after being pushed back a full calendar year, and despite surging coronavirus numbers in Japan and around the world, former IOC Vice President Dick Pound told the Japan’s Kyodo news agency the Games would start with or without fans. “The question is — is this a ‘must-have’ or ‘nice-to-have.’ It’s nice to have spectators. But it’s not a must-have.”
Its important to note that Pound is no longer part of any decision making boards for the International Olympic Committee, but he was for decades, and he’s making a lot of statements to the media to pump some life into these upcoming games. He’s doing it because the games need some life pumped into them. Recent polls show 80% of the public in Japan believe that the Olympics should be cancelled or postponed again.
The IOC and officials in Japan have been saying for months that the Olympics have to happen this summer, or they never will.“It’s either 2021, or nothing,” Pound said.
Officially, there has been no formal announcement as to what will happen in six months. “Nobody can guarantee ”the Olympics will open on July 23. But I think there’s a very, very, good chance that they can, and that they will,” Pound said.
Keep in mind that most of the money generated from the Olympics comes from television rights. That’s why there’s no huge concern if fans were not able to attend. The Olympics are a television program, with 73% of the IOC’s revenue coming from selling the TV rights, so if they show did not go on, it’s a loss of between $2 and $3 billion dollars.
One thing we know about the IOC is they are not in the habit of losing money.