IOC Considering Postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympics Amid Coronavirus Concerns

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International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach

In a letter to athletes released Sunday by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, the executive said that the committee was beginning discussions with the Tokyo organizing committee, Japanese authorities, the national Olympic committees and other stakeholders about the situation.

The International Olympic Committee is beginning discussions about postponing the 2020 Olympic Games, set to be held this summer in Tokyo.

In a letter to athletes released Sunday by IOC president Thomas Bach, the executive said that the committee was beginning discussions with the Tokyo organizing committee, Japanese authorities, the national Olympic committees and other stakeholders (including, presumably, Olympic sponsors and media partners) about the situation.

"Together with all the stakeholders, we have started detailed discussions today to complete our assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including a scenario of postponement," Bach wrote. "We are working very hard, and we are confident that we will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks."

However, "cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody," he added. "Therefore it is not on our agenda."

The Olympics have only been skipped three times in the modern era — in 1916, 1940 and 1944, all due to war.

"Contrary to other sports events, to postpone the Olympic Games is an extremely complex challenge," Bach wrote in the letter, noting the availability of venues and advance time needed to secure enough hotel rooms.

The Olympics are also among the most valuable sports TV rights in the world.

In 2014, Comcast extended its exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the games through 2032 for more than $7.6 billion.

NBC Sports said earlier this month that advertising for the 2020 Olympics was more than 90 percent sold, having already surpassed $1.25 billion in sales.