The IOC acknowledged today at a media conference that some of its TOP sponsors may reschedule payments due to the coronavirus pandemic ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has acknowledged that some worldwide sponsors might pay agreed sums later than originally anticipated, as a consequence of the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IOC’s chief operating officer Lana Haddad told a well-attended media conference today that there might be some "rescheduling" of payments.

But she indicated that this would not be a major issue for the IOC, while emphasising that sponsors remained fully committed.

A total of 14 multinational corporations have signed up for the latest edition of the IOC’s flagship The Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship programme, covering the Pyeongchang 2018-Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle.

It is thought that this might generate more than $2 billion (£1.64 billion/€1.85 billion) all told for the IOC over the period.

But a number of TOP sponsors are enduring hard times as a result of the economic shock triggered by Government-enforced lockdowns intended to slow the spread of the deadly virus.

Airbnb, the short-term room rental service, is cutting 25 per cent of its workforce, while Japanese carmaker Toyota this week forecast a collapse in operating income for its current financial year running to March 2021.

Bridgestone is one of 14 companies that is part of the IOC's The Olympic Partner worldwide sponsorship programme ©Getty Images
Bridgestone is one of 14 companies that is part of the IOC's The Olympic Partner worldwide sponsorship programme ©Getty Images

While only a proportion of TOP-related income for the IOC is paid in cash, it has been a particularly buoyant revenue stream just lately.

TOP contributed $1.1 billion (£900 million/€1 billion) of revenue in 2017 and 2018 – a jump of no less than 140 per cent from 2013 and 2014, the equivalent period in the prior Olympic cycle, when it generated $450.5 million (£368.5 million/€417 million).

Indeed, if the more than $3 billion (£2.45 billion/€2.8 billion) in domestic sponsorship piled up by Tokyo 2020 is taken into account, sponsorship might generate more for the Movement over the Pyeongchang-Tokyo cycle than the $4.5 billion (£3.7 billion/€4.17 billion) or so expected to come in from the sale of broadcasting rights over the same period.

Not every IOC TOP sponsor has been hurt by the pandemic.

Procter & Gamble, the giant United States-based household products company, disclosed last month it was experiencing a jump in cleaning product sales.

The remaining current TOP sponsors are Alibaba, Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Dow, GE, Intel, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa.