The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is setting new world records five years before its official kick-off

The iconic Olympic torch for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is still five years away from being lit to declare the tournament officially open but already, the Olympic event in Tokyo looks set to be historic from a revenue generation perspective. The Olympics set the stage for sporting world records to be broken and probably set, but five years ahead of kick-off, Tokyo 2020 Olympics has already set a world record: the highest grossing Olympic event in history.

The event is re-writing the history books of Olympics sponsorship as despite being five years away, it looks to be breaking records for the amount of sponsorship attracted. The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the 2020 Olympics famously announced that its marketing target for the Games was to generate $1.5 billion, more than the $1.3 billion generated by the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the $1.07 billion of the London 2012 Olympics.

But Tokyo may be changing that target soon though as with about 15 sponsors confirmed, the event has already hit the $1.5 billion mark. Sponsor brands in the ‘Gold Partners’ category are reportedly paying around $120 million for partnership rights and with 13 gold partners including Fujitsu, ASICS and Canon confirmed, the LOC has likely raked in its $1.5 billion target.

Interestingly, an emerging trend in the sponsorship of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is having two rival brands share category sponsorship. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc, rival banks in Japan, have both signed on as Gold Partners. Similarly, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines have signed on as second-tier partners to share the ‘passenger air transportation services’ sponsorship category.

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori has credited the economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe which are fondly regarded to as ‘Abenomics’ for the increased capacity of companies to spend. Abenomics is broadly based on increased government spending and a growth strategy that is aimed at stimulating the Japanese economy.

“Raising money would have been much more difficult several years ago but now the economy is picking up thanks to Abenomics, we’ve received numerous sponsorship applications.,” Mori, also a former Prime Minister of Japan, said.

The good news for Japan is that the massive sponsorship activity means it will not be spending as much as Mori says the LOC is focused on reducing “the burden on the city of Tokyo as much as possible.”

All of Japan’s sponsorship activity is separate from the operations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which runs its TOP sponsorship programme with brands like Coca Cola, Samsung and OMEGA already signed on as worldwide partners. The IOC also recently signed on Toyota as its first ever mobility partner in a deal worth over $800 million and runs through 2024.

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