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Brands are Gearing Up to Connect with Millions of 2020 Summer Olympic Fans in Tokyo

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It all began way back in 776 BC and became a staple of live entertainment for more than a thousand years. For some reason, mostly lost to history, the ancient Olympic Games took a hiatus until the modern version was reignited in Athens Greece in 1896. Since then, the Modern Olympic Games have been held every four years in locations around the world. The 2020 Olympic Games will be held this coming July and August in Tokyo, Japan. It is the first time the Games have been held in Tokyo in fifty-six years.

Athletes from countries all around the world will arrive in Tokyo on July 24th and compete with each other in a diverse menu of summer sports. One of a few mega sporting events to attract millions of participants and viewers from around the world, the 2020 event is shaping up to set records in attendance and television viewership when compared to the 2016 event.  The two-week competition is expected to draw a global audience of sporting fans for traditional sports like track and field, swimming, cycling and basketball. This year, six sports will either return to the Games’ schedule after a pause or debut for the first time. Martial Arts will see Karate return, as well as Rowing and Baseball. Surfing, Sport Climbing and Skateboarding will make an Olympic debut in the 2020 Games, and several other established sports will expand their offerings. Gymnastics, typically one of the Games’ biggest stars, will return but will have lost most of its corporate sponsorships after sexual abuse scandals following the last Olympic event. New sports, like skateboarding and surfing could draw new sponsorships, deals, and audiences away from gymnastics and find themselves in a position to introduce their new sports equipment and accessories to the global marketplace.

This summer will be the first time that new rule changes will be introduced to the Games. Bylaw 3 to Rule 40 was amended to permit Olympic participants to use “their person, name, picture or sports performances” for advertising purposes in accordance with the principles set forth by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. The changes to Rule 40 promise to open the door to greater marketing opportunities for advertisers that are not official sponsors of the Olympic Games or Team USA.

The 2020 Tokyo Games will also see significant changes in digital marketing, allowing campaigns to access a broader range of devices, channels and apps. The changes will allow digital marketers to target more specific audiences and more easily measure a campaign’s success. Digital media is expected to account for 60 percent of advertising spend for this year’s Olympic event. New technologies are also expected to produce less-expensive advertising avenues to traditional sponsorships. Advertiser sports sponsorships are expected to generate more than $48 billion worldwide, a 5% increase over the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Olympic partners Coca-Cola and P&G will double their spend to $1.95 billion worldwide. Japan’s domestic brands Canon, Asahi and Fujitsu will invest $3.33 billion this Olympiad, four times higher than in Rio’s 2016 Games.

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC), exclusive owners of Olympic broadcasting rights thru 2032, is producing more than 7,000 hours of coverage which will be delivered to audiences via multiple digital platforms as well as traditional television. The cost of ads will range between $1 million to more $100 million. NBCUniversal has already received more than $1 billion in national advertising commitments for the 2020 Games.

The process of receiving a bid to host the Olympic Games require bidders to prepare a plan for the Game’s potential disruption due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires or terrorist attacks, but the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has Tokyo planners and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) grappling with a decision to consider canceling the 2020 Summer Games in an effort to help stem the spread of the disease. Terrance Burns, an Olympic Games Consultant, says, “I’ve never seen an Olympic organizing committee asked, ‘Are you prepared for a global pandemic?’” Until now, the IOC did not calculate a worldwide pandemic into its calculations. Apparently, there is some truth to the notion that there is a first time for just about everything. Japanese officials are tamping-down the speculations about canceling this year’s Games. While the Olympic Torch is scheduled to begin its journey from Greece to Tokyo next month, the IOC is counting on the pandemic to be halted in time for the Tokyo Opening Ceremonies in late June. An Olympics cancellation would have a significant impact on all concerned, including sponsors and advertisers who completed preparing their advertising budgets and campaigns as early as last Fall. A non-event will likely propel well-prepared marketers around the world into a state of frenzy.

While brands may have identified their target audiences and strategies for reaching millions of Olympic fans with their messages, many sports have yet to identify their participants. The potential dilemma of cancellation has emerging and veteran athletes, in the final process of completing pre-Olympic trials, speculating on their athletic futures. One factor remains certain. If the Games go forward as expected, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo is sure to thrill millions of fans of all sports and deliver an opportunity for marketers to connect with all of them.

To find out more on how Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) can help you design a successful digital marketing strategy, call 678-686-1125 today.