2020 Olympics Will Be Postponed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak, Senior IOC Member Says

Dick Pound tells USA Today that “postponement has been decided” but unclear on new date for Tokyo Games

Last Updated: March 23, 2020 @ 11:49 AM

Dick Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, says the organization has already decided that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound said in an interview with USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.” The IOC has not officially announced the postponement of the Games, but said on Sunday that it will formally decide that in four weeks time.

Two countries — Canada and Australia — have formally pulled out of the Games if they were to be held as scheduled, which is set for July 24. The Olympics have been canceled only three times in its existence: 1916, 1940 and 1944. All three of those were because of World Wars.

NBCUniversal, which airs the games in the U.S., was pegging the nationwide launch of its upcoming streaming service Peacock to coincide with the Olympics; after a soft launch to Comcast subscribers in April, Peacock becomes available to everyone in the U.S. on July 15.

“These are extraordinary and unprecedented times, and we fully support the IOC’s decision to step up its scenario-planning for the Tokyo Olympics,” an NBC Sports spokesperson said. “We are prepared to stand behind any decision made by the IOC, the Japanese government, and the world health officials with whom they are working regarding the Tokyo Olympics.”

NBCU was banking on the Olympics to draw in potential subscribers, both by airing certain events on Peacock, as well as using the massive platform the Olympics provides as a marketing tool. The 2016 Rio Games averaged nearly 26 million viewers in primetime. Peacock will have live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies as well as three daily shows.

NBC Sports had already secured a record $1.25 billion in ad sales. The 2020 Games are the last under the $4.38 billion rights deal the NBC signed with the IOC; NBC is paying more than $1 billion just for these Games alone.