The Tokyo Olympics will kick off on July 23, 2021 and run until August 8, the International Olympic Committee announced after a meeting of its executive board Monday.
IOC Thomas Bach told reporters that the games would represent a light at the end of a “very dark tunnel” for humankind.
The games will still be called “Tokyo 2020,” despite taking place 364 days later than planned, and the Paralympics will follow shortly after, running from August 24 to September 5, 2021.
“When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport,” International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons told media.
Japan is “officially” spending $12.5 billion on organizing the Olympics. But it’s believed the true figure is closer to double that. The postponement is likely to heap further costs onto the host nation — somewhere between $2 billion and $4 billion, according to analysts.
Of course, all this assumes that COVID-19 will have been sufficiently battered into submission by the summer of 2021.
An event like the Olympics is unlikely to go ahead before herd immunity to the virus has been achieved. That would either be through 60-plus percent of the world’s population becoming infected and recovering, or through the development of a vaccine.
But health experts cannot with any certainty put a time frame on either scenario.
Lean Times for Sports Betting
When the games finally arrive, they will be a light at the end of the tunnel, too, for the betting industry, which has reported an explosion of interest in Belarusian soccer, Russian 3×3 basketball, and betting on the weather since the widespread cancellation of global sports events.
Under normal circumstances, 2021 would have been a quiet year for the betting industry, particularly in Europe, because of the absence of a FIFA World Cup or a UEFA Euro 2020 soccer tournament. But now that the Euros have also been moved to next summer, there will be something of a sports pileup.
The postponement of the Olympics will mean the World Athletics Championships in Oregon will now be bumped to 2022. But that could then clash with the Commonwealth Games, providing athletics bodies with a scheduling headache.
The last Olympics in Rio is estimated to have generated around $1 billion bets globally, both legally and illegally, according to Bloomberg. But the World Cup generates around 50 times that figure, and the Euros are close behind.
And with no sports to bet on in the meantime, the question is, how many betting operators will still be here in the summer of 2021?