Tokyo 2020 to cut costs by $283m

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has today (Wednesday) announced that it expects to make savings of 30 billion yen (£220m/€240.6m/$283m) for the rescheduled events, as a result of a range of cost-cutting measures.

Tokyo 2020 provided further details as it updated the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board on its preparations for the Games. This year’s Olympics were postponed back in March due to COVID-19, with the Games now scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympics will then follow from August 24 to September 5.

From the announcement of the postponement, organisers have been seeking means to cut costs, which had swollen to 1.35 trillion yen at the time. Over the past three months, Tokyo 2020 has been assessing its options since a policy of simplification and optimisation measures for the Games was agreed.

As a result, at last month’s IOC Coordination Commission meeting, Tokyo 2020 and the IOC agreed on more than 50 items of simplification and optimisation to deliver Games fit for a post Corona world.

The primary items are: review of specifications of temporary overlays and other equipment at venues, and reduction of service levels; reductions in the look of the Games in venues and in the Olympic and Paralympic Village; optimisation of the Olympic Torch Relay operations; encouraging stakeholders to optimise their delegation working in Tokyo; and optimisation of staffing plans for the Organising Committee.

In total, Tokyo 2020 has said a “tentative estimate” resulting from these reviews is that savings of 30 billion yen can be achieved, against costs without simplification measures. Tokyo 2020 said: “Tokyo 2020 believes that this work will help to create a model for future global events including forthcoming Games amid the new normal in which we now live.”

Japan’s Kyodo news agency reports that the biggest planned saving of around 15 billion yen is through scaling down temporary operations spaces and lighting at venues. Reducing Games decorations at venues and at the athletes’ village by 30% to 40% will account for one billion yen, while reductions in staffing and vehicles for the Torch Relay should save 800 million yen.

Cutting the planned delegation of around 50,000 non-athlete participants by some 10% to 15% will bring savings of around one billion yen, while streamlining Tokyo 2020’s staffing plan could save three billion yen.

Tokyo 2020 today said it is currently discussing costs for COVID-19 countermeasures. It added: “We will work out these topics in detail, settle cost sharing, and present our V5 budget by the end of this year. Our efforts on simplification and optimisation will be continued until the opening of the Games.”

One of the major headaches for Tokyo 2020 was resolved in July as the organising committee confirmed that all venues had been rebooked for next year.