According to industry sources, sponsor hosting at the Tokyo Olympics has been reduced to the bare essentials due to the pandemic of public dissatisfaction with the Games. Partners of the International Olympic Committee are looking into distant solutions to on-site hospitality, including AR and VR experiences, as well as specially-created meals and presents delivered to hospitality recipients throughout the world.
Lessons learnt from these issues could be applied again shortly, as the pandemic is likely to affect hospitality at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which will take place just six months after Tokyo.
The Olympic Games are known for having several of the most elaborate sponsor hospitality programs in the nation of sport. Sponsors’ visitors are brought in from all over the world for multiple days of sport and hospitality, as well as immersive promotional events by businesses, during normal times. A hospitality strategy at an Olympic Games can cost more than $10 million for the top sponsors.
Nicholas Bruce, vice-president, head of consulting and research at Nielsen Sports in Asia, says, “The hospitality programmes are amazing, not just because of the hotels and the sport you get to see, but also the way in which brands integrate their products and showcases. As a result, it’s a really strong b2b platform.” Nielsen has worked with a host of Olympics sponsors, past and present.
Non-sponsors and the public at large can purchase hospitality tickets in addition to sponsor programmes. The official website for purchasing these tickets for Tokyo 2020 is already up and running. Prices range from roughly 60,000 dollars ($540) for a day of taekwondo to 2.7 million dollars ($24,000) for a package that includes the opening ceremony and three evening sporting events at the Olympic Stadium.
Insiders predict that some hospitality will take place in Tokyo, however, it will be a modest part of usual Olympic activity. Some sponsors want to offer out hospitality tickets to staff in Japan if they become vacant, in order to maximise employee engagement. Some are developing remote solutions, such as wearable technology and virtual reality experiences, to offer some of the material and messaging that would otherwise be delivered through onsite, physical installations.
Another example of how the pandemic’s impact has sparked invention in the sports business. Nonetheless, the sub-sector certainly needs a restoration of the in-person sports hospitality. According to industry experts, the primary value of sports hospitality experiences rests in the potential for sponsors to establish strong relationships with consumers and partners by spending time together at an engaging event. It’s a one-of-a-kind and tremendous value offer that can’t be recreated entirely online.