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Temperatures in the mid- to high-30s. Air so humid it felt like a sauna. For many athletes, the Tokyo Olympics were a slog.
So why did they hold the games in the middle of Tokyo’s blazing hot summer? Why not October?
That’s what organizers did for the 1964 Games in Tokyo. The 1968 Games in Mexico City and the 1988 Games in Seoul were also held after those cities’ hottest months. During the ’80s, the games grew wildly popular as a global TV event. U.S. broadcaster ABC paid $225 million (¥24.8 billion) for the rights to broadcast the games.
But the 2000 Games in Sydney — which began on Sept. 15 — saw TV ratings fall. This was partly because almost none of the events were shown live in the U.S. because of the time difference.
But another reason was that the 2000 Games had to compete with American and European sports schedules.
During September and October, the U.S. sports calendar is full of sports, including MLB regular season games and playoffs for the NFL.
“The Summer Olympics are simply of less value if held in October because of preexisting program commitments for sports,” Neal Pilson, the former president of CBS Sports, told Reuters in 2018.
But if the Olympics are held in July and August, there are more people looking for sports to watch. For many countries, this is also when school is out.
In fact, the timing of the 2020 Games was a condition of the International Olympic Committee. The IOC makes money by selling the TV rights to the games. That means that athletes — who get money from sports federations that get money from the IOC — will need to keep one eye on the calendar and another on the weather charts. (T)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.