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Reflecting on the Olympic Postponement from a Brand Perspective

In troubling times, it’s important to figure out how to move forward. Many of us are now in quarantine in our homes, trying to make sure that COVID-19 doesn’t affect us any more than it has already. Large sporting events and leagues all over the world are postponing or cancelling their events as they should be, one of the latest announcements being the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The games are set to now open July 23, 2021 but for everyone involved, it’s going to be a long wait. While many brands may shelf their current initiatives when it comes to athletes involved, some may choose to act much sooner. These brands will be the best performers come next summer. The athletes aren’t stopping, are they?


Official Olympic Sponsor, Visa, has already stepped up by announcing that its contracts with Olympic athletes in 27 sports will be extended through 2021, according to Sport Business. Chris Curtis, Chief Brand and Innovation Marketing Officer at Visa, told the Associated Press, “We elected to stand behind our roster of Team Visa athletes and make sure they knew affirmatively we were planning to do so and that we were going to offer to extend our relationship with them into 2021.” 


Business will be lost in this time period. However, if brands stay on top of their Olympic marketing plans, they can refine and improve upon their planned campaigns and activations. When the world gets through COVID-19, the Olympics will be a celebration of the human spirit and triumph over the virus. Brands who can integrate that into their marketing campaigns will see a great return on their investment. 

Brands who aren’t involved in the Olympics yet also now have the opportunity to get in. A whole extra year opens up a wealth of opportunities for this group of brands. Athletes and brands alike who felt like it was too late to get involved now have another shot, and will be as hungry as ever. With this extra time, brands like this shouldn’t be forgetting about the Olympics, their planning should be just beginning.


Brands have an important place in all of this, but athletes have just as much of an opportunity as the brands. Not only can athletes find new deals and make the best of their brands, but athletes who are already involved can find new opportunities and get the best sponsorship deals possible. Athletes have a lot of power in this situation and will look to leverage it. As athletes are learning more about the power of their platforms, hopefuls who have built names for themselves in qualifiers and with pre-Olympic press can now act on it through business and public relations ventures alike. Seasoned athletes will be able to capitalize on this publicity too, but every athlete needs to act soon before the press dies down for a little while.


Regardless of if you’re a brand or an athlete, this is a perfect time to align with an agency if you aren’t already. Agencies work with entities on both sides of the deals surrounding Olympic postponement. Understanding what you can do with this extra time is important in ensuring that you take advantage of this year off.


While the next year may be slow for those involved in the Olympics, it’s important to start planning for the 2020 (or should I say, 2021) games right now. If agencies, athletes, and brands all take advantage of this time, their efforts can lead to a very special event when the games start next summer.



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