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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games to next year creates problems for advertisers, who could now potentially be facing a more crowded media calendar.

What they're saying: "Cancelled is actually the easier scenario than postponed because it's a definitive yes or no kind of thing," says Jon Swallen, CRO of the media division at Kantar, an advertising analytics company.

  • "The biggest impact from an advertising perspective would probably go to the network selling the airtime," says Swallen.

NBCUniversal says it's already sold a record $1.25 billion in national ads around the 2020 Tokyo games, surpassing its previous record of $1.2 billion in ad sales during the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

  • NBCUniversal and its parent Comcast say they have insurance built into its contracts for lost expenses. "There should be no losses should there not be an Olympics, just wouldn’t be a profit this year," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has said.

The big problem: "It's unlikely NBCU can replace ads against programming at the same prices they were selling it for originally for the Olympics, which is a potential revenue hit for them," says Swallen.

Don't forget: There's a huge opportunity cost for marketers needing to reallocate all of their lost sports ad placements.

  • "There's going to be a spike in available inventory as cancellations come in," says Swallen. It's going to be be better economics for those that come back in and buy earlier."

Go deeper: How the coronavirus-driven sports outage impacts TV and advertising

Go deeper

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Trump baselessly accuses Fauci of being a "Democrat"

President Trump again criticized Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, during a campaign rally in North Carolina on Thursday, claiming without evidence that the NIAID director is "a Democrat," and accusing him of downplaying the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Since the onset of the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly undermined Fauci, who has five decades of public service, describes himself as apolitical and is not registered with either party. In public statements and tweets, Trump has accused Fauci of blundering the government's response to the virus.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Oct 16, 2020 - Health

How colleges have learned to combat the coronavirus

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Some colleges are creating a blueprint for how to safely remain open during the coronavirus pandemic, relying heavily on regular testing and doing what they can to curb parties and other large gatherings.

Why it matters: College reopenings were tied to several big outbreaks, and young adults will likely be among the last to receive a coronavirus vaccine. So colleges and students need figure out how to live amid the virus.