January 28, 2021
Comcast, parent of longtime Olympics broadcaster NBCUniversal, contends the delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will go on as scheduled, a hopeful Brian Roberts, chairman/CEO, said on the Jan. 28 fiscal call.
“Sitting here today, I believe there will be an Olympics,” Roberts said. “I hope there will be an Olympics. And I think that’s our best intelligence, at this time. And we’re excited about that.”
While the quadrennial sporting spectacle might not have an Olympic stadium filled with spectators, Roberts said the Games could be carried out the way other professional sports leagues have continued their seasons during the pandemic playing in front of empty stadiums.
“That will be up to the host country [Japan] and the host committee,” Roberts said. “We’re very hopeful and believe that they’ll find a way to safely and successfully have the Olympics.”
China’s capital of Beijing is slated to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, also exclusively broadcast in the U.S. by NBC.
The Tokyo Games, previously slated for last July, were to have been a huge promotional plug for NBCUniversal’s just-launched Peacock streaming platform. NBCUniversal has fiscal insurance policies in place should the Games be canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.
In recent years, the Olympics has largely become a nationwide televised marketing event for American viewers showcasing Team USA, patriotism and individual achievement — against the backdrop of endless ads. That could continue during the pandemic with a healing effect, according to Roberts.
“For us, [the Olympics] is a television event and would be an amazing moment for the world to come back together post-what we’ve all globally been through [with the pandemic], which is so unprecedented,” Roberts said. “So we’re super hopeful and optimistic.”