Although the Olympics may not begin for four months, sponsors, fans, athletes and national Olympic committees have to make decisions and commitments now. Sponsors, who pay $25 million a year or more to be affiliated with the Games, are finalizing hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising and promotional expenses, as well as travel and hospitality for thousands of employees and guests they plan to take to the Games.
In addition, many of those companies are experiencing deep losses in world markets, and in western Europe and the United States, business has ground to a halt.
Ricardo Fort, the head of global sponsorships for Coca-Cola, the oldest sponsor of the Olympics, with an unbroken partnership since 1928, wrote on Twitter: “The IOC is taking the right steps to proper evaluate their options. Whatever decision they make, it will be based on facts (and not on the pressure of any one Federation in any one country, no matter the Federation or the country).”
The comments from some of the national federations calling for a pause to the Games are said to have infuriated and surprised some at the I.O.C., not least because they did not raise them at a video conference meeting with Bach on Tuesday.
Brian Lewis, who heads Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic body, was the only one to put forward the suggestion of postponing the Olympics. But, Lewis said, Bach placated him by saying the I.O.C.’s management of the situation was in line with advice from health experts, including the World Health Organization.
In recent days, athletes, including many unable to train because of measures put in place to tackle the spread of the virus, have called for the I.O.C. to decide, sooner rather than later, whether the Games will be delayed and for how long.
“So many people feel that if there was an answer then we would know what to do,” said Kathleen Baker, a gold and silver medalist in swimming at the 2016 Olympics.