In addition to figuring out how to maintain their health and fitness for an additional year, athletes like Ryan Crouser suddenly faced another concern when the Olympics were postponed to 2021.
They also have to grow that money this far.
Crouser still hopes to defend his shot put gold at the Tokyo Games next year, but must now clarify his sponsorship funding until 2021 since his contract – and that of many other athletes – only goes so far ‘in 2020.
“It’s a little difficult because at the end of the day, my contract is my salary,” Crouser told the Associated Press. “This is where I earn most of my money.”
Right now, of course, it is hard enough to stay in shape in a stay-at-home order because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the native of Oregon, who trains in Arkansas, knows that he must use this time to his advantage to secure his future.
“I hope this puts me in a position where I can go far and prove that I will sign a new contract,” said Nike sponsored sponsor Crouser. “Just to say that I haven’t really been sitting on the couch all this time.”
Sponsorship leaders in the Olympic world also cannot afford to falter as they navigate the ramifications of an unprecedented delay in games caused by the virus.
Marketing plans for the Olympics scheduled to start in Tokyo on July 24 are now undergoing major changes. Promotional material and advertisements that have already been filmed may need to be discarded and redone at great cost – potentially with different athletes.
Then there is the delicate issue of renegotiating contracts – from all of these individual approval agreements to high-level Olympic sponsors that were only signed until 2020.
“These games are called the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach on Wednesday. “So it is a logical consequence for me that the sponsors … keep their rights even if the games are organized in ’21.”
For large conglomerates like General Electric and consumer goods companies Proctor and Gamble, it might seem like adding an extra year to their association with the Olympics should be of great value. However, this could be offset by the costs of the virus that wipes out so many sponsorship events and planned advertisements that would soon appear around the world.
“I don’t think there is a fair claim that you should suddenly pay more,” said former IOC marketing director Michael Payne, who now advises Olympic sponsors. “I think everything that has to be paid in 2022 could be divided 50-50, so half is in 2020 and the other half in 2021.”
Obtaining funding as an athlete is more complex and uncertain. Olympic hopes will depend on funding budgeted until 2020 – from sponsors and national Olympic funding programs – and must now fund the extension of preparation for the Games in 2021.
The lawyers will be busy reviewing the contracts.
“They are going to rush to check the agreements on what is covered and what is not,” said Simon Leaf, a lawyer with the London sales team at Mishcon de Reya. “The brands may have paid money and are not getting the expected return. Likewise, athletes working with brands could expect to receive additional amounts this year, but will not meet the criteria to participate in the Olympic Games in the summer of 2020. ”
Nike did not respond to a request for comment.
Atlanta-based agent Paul Doyle has a busy year ahead. He estimates that 40 of the 50 athletes he represents need redesign before 2021.
“We could let this continue for another year – we will sign a document that says we keep everything exactly as it is and that we put it a year later,” said Doyle.
This could work particularly well for athletes in their thirties who are planning Tokyo to be their last Olympic Games. But for some, the delay could affect their competitive chances, while others who were to miss this year may suddenly have another opportunity.
“Are we trying to seize the opportunities to prove in these last meetings that could occur in 2020, that they are worth signing again for next year? This is sort of the intention, “said Doyle. “There are other athletes who could be in the opposite situation, they have been on fire throughout 2019 and their contract is ongoing and they are in an excellent position to negotiate now. It will be interesting to see how everything is taking place. “
What is also problematic for track and field athletes is the lack of competitions for the foreseeable future, the postponement of the first three stages of the Diamond League denying them the revenues linked to the performance of the sponsors.
“Obviously, they (the sponsors) are trying to be fair to the athletes, but they are also trying to run a business that is incredibly short of blood too at the moment,” said Doyle. “I hope everyone is united and realizes:” Hey, these athletes lose a lot of money by not being able to compete and by not being able to win bonuses. Let’s not take another hit on them. “Hopefully big business will absorb the loss more than pass it on to the athletes.”
Because these athletes could be even more valuable to sponsors as 2021 approaches, with increased interest in the Olympics expected from sports fans who have been denied the opportunity to watch so many events. elite in 2020.
“Brands can take advantage of this renewed interest in athletes,” said Jonny Madill, who negotiates sponsorship contracts as a lawyer at Sheridans in London. “Look at the opportunity to have another 12 months, and each time the sport starts again, the level of engagement and interest will be off the charts.”