Comcast CEO Predicts Tokyo Olympics Will Happen This Summer

But NBCUniversal head Jeff Shell warns “anything could happen in this COVID world”

2016 Olympics
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The CEO of NBCUniversal parent company Comcast thinks the Tokyo Summer Olympics will occur as (re)planned this July, based on the “best intelligence” available right now.

“Sitting here today, I believe there will be an Olympics,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said during the company’s Q4 and full-year 2020 earnings calls on Thursday. “I hope there will be an Olympics. And I think that’s our best intelligence, at this time. And we’re excited about that. I think it can be done in a variety of ways, as we’ve seen sporting events all over the world take place from Premier League, to the NFL, to many others, with limited spectators, no spectators, or wherever the world may be in Japan in July, that will be up to the host country and the host committee.”

Initially scheduled to take place last summer, the 2020 Olympics were delayed by a year until this coming July due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the event the Olympics don’t happen after all, Roberts noted the Beijing Winter Olympics will be coming “seven months later or so” — in February 2022 — but Comcast is not ready to throw in the towel on Tokyo yet.

“We’re very hopeful and believe that they’ll find a way to safely and successfully have the Olympics, which for us is a television event and would be an amazing moment for the world to come back together post-what we’ve all globally been through, which is so unprecedented,” he added. “So we’re super hopeful and optimistic.”

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell echoed Roberts’ statement, adding that “advertisers also are optimistic that the Olympics are coming.”

“We continue to pace, I think last earnings call I said we were up over where we were a year ago, when we thought the Olympics would be a year ago, that gap has grown even further as advertisers have jumped in to buy,” Shell said. “So anything could happen in this COVID world, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re pretty confident that the Olympics are going to happen and advertisers are kind of jumping in and agreeing with Brian’s sentiments.”

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