‘Delayed Olympics relief for sponsors’

British advertising veteran Sorrell says postponement was logical step


Afp March 28, 2020
British advertising veteran Sorrell says postponement was a logical step. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO: The decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until 2021 will be welcomed by the sponsors who pay hundreds of millions to be associated with the event, British advertising veteran Martin Sorrell has told AFP.

Faced with growing international pressure, the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday delayed the July 24-August 9 Games, a move never before seen in peacetime in the Olympics' 124-year history.

Sorrell -- who founded advertising giant WPP and sits on the IOC's Communications Commission -- said delaying the Games was logical given the coronavirus pandemic and a resulting recession he compares only to that created by war.

"The (local and international) sponsors would prefer next year in any case given the chaos that is going on at the moment," he said in a phone interview.

"So this works out for both sets of sponsors."

Sorrell, who left WPP in 2018, concedes there are hurdles to be overcome such as the availability of the venues and the timetable -- the IOC has left the door open to a spring Olympics -- but believes the "extremely competent" Japanese organisers would deal with those changes.

But he foresaw the Games taking place in more propitious financial times.

"People ask me if this recession is different to others. I say there has been nothing like it before -- the only comparison is wartime," he said.

"I have experienced several in my life, such as the oil slump of the 80s, the dotcom in 2001 and 2008.

"Nothing has been as quick as this. There will be a fallout for some but there will be a recovery.

"Q2 (the second quarter) will be very difficult this year, Q3 less so and Q4 better, so there will be some signs of recovery by the time the Games come round."

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