The 2021 Olympics will be like no other. It is the first ever Olympics to have been postponed. Previously, two Olympics were cancelled during the two world wars, but never postponed. It is the first-time karate, surfing, climbing and skateboard have featured, and baseball and softball return after a 13-year absence.
It is also the first time the Olympics takes place during a pandemic, meaning athletes will have to adjust to daily COVID tests, no spectators, only being in the Olympic Village for 5 days before and 2 days after their event, and if the athlete catches COVID, their Games are over.
If the Olympics were not already expensive enough, hosting the Olympics during a global pandemic makes it more so. The postponement added additional costs including renegotiating new venue leases, maintaining arenas, managing the fact that some of the 5,632 apartments making up the Athletes Village had already been sold, and additional costs in terms of COVID protocols.
Before it was announced that no spectators would be allowed at the games, ticket demand exceeded supply by 10 times, which was expected to raise $1 billion for local organisers. This will also hit the hospitality sector and is estimated to result in an additional loss of $1.4 billion. The latest Olympic budget sits at $15 billion, which is up 22% from the budget before the postponement and more than twice the estimated budget presented when Tokyo won the bid for the Olympics in 2013.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t also get looked back on as being a multi-national super spreader event.