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Olympic delay leaves athletes uncertain about sponsorships

SeattlePI.com Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ()
Aside from 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 until 2021.

They also have to make the money stretch that far.

Crouser still hopes to defend his shot put gold medal at the Tokyo Games next year, but now needs to get clarity about his sponsorship funding going into 2021 since his contract β€” and that of many other athletes β€” only goes through 2020.

"It's a little bit tough because at the end of the day my contract, that's my salary,” Crouser told The Associated Press. β€œThat's where I make the majority of my money.”

Right now, of course, it's hard enough just to stay in shape amid a stay-at-home order because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the Oregon native, who is training in Arkansas, knows he has to use this time to his advantage in order to secure his future.

β€œIt will hopefully put me in a position where I could throw far and prove myself going into re-signing a contract,” said Crouser, who is sponsored by Nike. β€œJust to say I wasn't really sitting on the couch this whole time.”

The sponsorship executives in the Olympic world can't afford to slouch around either as they navigate the ramifications of an unprecedented delay to the games caused by the virus.

Marketing plans for an Olympics that was meant to start in Tokyo on July 24 are now in flux. Promotional material and ads that have already been shot maybe have to be discarded and remade at great costs -- potentially with different athletes.

Then there is the delicate matter of renegotiating contracts -- from all those individual endorsement deals to the top-tier Olympic sponsors who were only signed up through 2020.

β€œThese games are called the Olympic Games...
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