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Despite opposition due to the pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics are set to take place

Tokyo Olympics are set to take place

Will the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed due to rising opposition and the pandemic, be held?

“Yes” is almost certainly the answer.

Richard Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, was adamant in an interview with a British newspaper.

“These things are a go, barring Armageddon that we can’t see or anticipate,” Pound told the Evening Standard.

Despite the fact that Tokyo is under a COVID-19 state of emergency, IOC Vice President John Coates has stated that the games will begin on July 23 regardless of the state of emergency.

As a final flourish, Australia’s softball team arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday, becoming the first major group of international athletes to establish an Olympic base in Japan.

As a result, the Olympics are rapidly approaching. But why is that?

Start with billions of dollars on the line, a contract that heavily favors the IOC, and a Japanese government decision to stay the course, which could help Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga keep his job.

These factors have triumphed over harsh criticism from medical organizations concerned that the Olympics will spread COVID-19 variants, as well as a call for the games to be canceled from the Asahi Shimbun, the games’ sponsor and the country’s second-largest selling newspaper.

The US State Department has issued a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” warning for Japan, which is currently under a state of emergency that will end on June 20.

And then there’s the matter of saving face. The official cost of the Olympics in Japan is $15.4 billion, but several government audits suggest it was much higher.

Except for $6.7 billion, it’s all taxpayer money. China, a geopolitical rival, will host the 2022 Winter Olympics just six months after Tokyo, and could seize the spotlight if Tokyo fails.

The IOC, a Swiss non-profit, has complete control over the event under the terms of the so-called Host City Contract, and it is unlikely to cancel on its own because it would lose billions in broadcast rights and sponsorship revenue.

Despite its image as a sporting league of nations, the IOC is a multibillion-dollar sports business that makes nearly all of its money from the sale of broadcast rights. Another 18 percent is provided by 15 major sponsors.

If the Tokyo Games are canceled, Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts who has written extensively about the Olympics, estimates that the IOC will lose $3.5 billion to $4 billion in broadcast revenue. He suggested that cancellation insurance could cover a small portion of this, between $400 million and $800 million.

NBCUniversal, the largest single source of revenue for the IOC, is based in the United States.