Tokyo Olympics 2020: Looming delay spells uncertain future for Games' merchandise

Vendors of a vast array of Tokyo 2020-themed trinkets are looking to cash in from a looming postponement of the Games, because of a global coronavirus pandemic, by marketing their items as emblems of something that never happened instead.

Reuters March 24, 2020 18:15:05 IST
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Looming delay spells uncertain future for Games' merchandise

Tokyo: Vendors of a vast array of Tokyo 2020-themed trinkets are looking to cash in from a looming postponement of the Games, because of a global coronavirus pandemic, by marketing their items as emblems of something that never happened instead.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Looming delay spells uncertain future for Games merchandise

Olympic rings near the New National Stadium in Tokyo. AP

Branded items, from $6 pin badges to $15,000 pieces of gold are on offer to enthusiasts, but as the Games shape up as the first since World War Two not to go ahead as planned, sellers are seizing on the disruption to boost demand.

“With Tokyo 2020 possibly delayed or even cancelled, these are precious items,” wrote one seller offering four Olympics pin badges from a Japanese insurer for about $60 on flea market app Mercari, which is ubiquitous in Japan.

“This may become scarce. Why don’t you take the chance?” read another post offering a stuffed version of official mascot Miraitowa, with the phrase “Tokyo 2020” emblazoned on its forehead.

Ahead of the Games, Olympics fans - some of whom have forked out thousands of dollars for tickets to top-flight events - can buy Tokyo 2020 stamped versions of everything from three-stringed shamisens to silky “sukajan” jackets.

However, the outlook for the world’s biggest sporting event has been hit by global lockdowns spurred by the virus, which has infected 1,852 people and killed 52 in Japan, with a trail of postponed and cancelled events in its wake.

A major delay could leave Games authorities with a gigantic rebranding headache.

In shopping districts across the capital, Tokyo 2020 flags flutter from street lights, while an oversized clock in front of the red-brick Tokyo Station counts down the days to 24 July, when the Games are set to start.

Delay risks pushing Tokyo 2020 items into a niche category of memorabilia accommodating events that did not take place and companies that have ceased trading.

Such items include baseball caps from Lehman Brothers, whose collapse kickstarted a global crisis, and paperweights from failed energy firm Enron Corp, offered online for tens, or even hundreds of dollars.

Updated Date:

also read

Dengue cases climb in West Bengal, 840 new infections in run-up to festival
India

Dengue cases climb in West Bengal, 840 new infections in run-up to festival

Most of the cases have been reported from North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Kolkata, Hooghly, Murshidabad, South 24 Parganas, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts

Scientists develop face masks that can detect viral exposure: How will it work?
Health

Scientists develop face masks that can detect viral exposure: How will it work?

The sensor used in the mask can respond to as little as 0.3 microlitres of liquid containing viral proteins, about 70 to 560 times less than the volume of liquid produced in one sneeze and much less than the volume produced by coughing or talking

COVID-19: Active Covid cases in India rise to 46,342
Health

COVID-19: Active Covid cases in India rise to 46,342

The active cases comprise 0.10 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate increased to 98.71 per cent.