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 International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that the Tokyo Summer Olympics were postponed until 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Why it matters: The Olympics entail a massive amount of travel, congregating and physical contact — all things that are being discouraged in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Multiple athletes and teams had already called for the committee to postpone the Games, which were scheduled to begin July 24.
The International Olympic Committee acknowledged for the first time Sunday that it may have to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games — an outcome that once felt impossible but now, amid mounting external pressure, feels inevitable.
The state of play: The IOC set a four-week deadline for a decision and added that canceling the Games is not under consideration because that "would not solve any of the problems or help anybody."
Pressure is building on organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to call off the Games, after officials in Canada and Australia announced Sunday night they would not send athletes to this summer's event.
Why it matters: Canada and Australia are the first teams to announce they won't go to the Games because of COVID-19 risks. Both countries have called for the event to be held in the northern summer of 2021.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Tokyo Olympics may have to be postponed if the Games cannot run in "complete form" because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Japan Times reports.
Why it matters: This is the first time Abe has made such a statement. The International Olympic Committee said in a statement Sunday it would "step up its scenario-planning" for the event and was in talks with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and Japanese authorities "to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement."
Norway and Brazil's Olympic committees — alongside the USA Swimming and Track and Field teams — are joining the call for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to be postponed, due to the novel coronavirus.
The latest: The Brazilian Olympic Committee called on Saturday for the games to be postponed until 2021, citing rising infection rates and "the consequent difficulty for athletes to maintain their best competitive level due to the need to stop training and competitions in global scale."
Taro Aso, Japan's deputy prime minister, said Wednesday that holding the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo "would not make sense" if other countries cannot send their athletes, while the government's top spokesperson insisted the Games were still on, per Reuters.
Why it matters: Though numerous sports leagues around the world have suspended their seasons in response to the pandemic, Japan, which has only 882 confirmed coronavirus cases, remains on track to host the games as scheduled in July even as the pandemic expands across the world.
11-year-old Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza is set to become the youngest athlete at the Tokyo Olympics — and fifth-youngest Olympian in history — after winning a qualification tournament last week.
Fun fact: Hend will likely not be the only 11-year-old at the Games, with pro skateboarder Sky Brown — who is about five months older — expected to compete for Team Great Britain.
The novel coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and has begun impacting a slew of international sporting events as the window to prevent a global pandemic narrows.
The state of play: The alpine skiing World Cup Finals and major Italian cycling races were canceled on Friday as the coronavirus continues to spread, AP reports. The Italian government has mandated all sporting events take place without spectators through April 3.
Running in her first-ever sanctioned marathon, Molly Seidel took second place at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials to secure one of three spots on the U.S. women's team for the Tokyo Games.
The backdrop: Seidel was a four-time champion at Notre Dame, but she'd been off the grid since 2016. She revealed her battles with an eating disorder and other mental and physical ailments in a lengthy piece on Runner's World.