Skipping the Olympics Is ‘Not an Option’ for Many Advertisers

Companies have spent more than $1 billion on ads timed to the Tokyo Games, which will take place in empty arenas as the pandemic lingers.

The Olympics have long been an almost ideal forum for companies looking to promote themselves, with plenty of opportunities for brands to nestle ads among the pageantry and feel-good stories about athletes overcoming adversity — all for less than the price of a Super Bowl commercial.

But now, as roughly 11,000 competitors from more than 200 countries convene in Tokyo as the coronavirus pandemic lingers, Olympic advertisers are feeling anxious about the more than $1 billion they have spent to run ads on NBC and its

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