Tokyo Olympic Games were scheduled to take place in the summer of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Games’ organizers to postpone the event. The Games’ officials vowed to stage the Games in 2021 though.
But now Tokyo Olympics could face the prospect of empty seats at events in 2021, even if fans are allowed to attend the rearranged Games in Japan, with almost one fifth of all ticket sales set to be refunded.
However, it seems the confidence of the organizers hasn’t been reciprocated by the the fans, with the Olympic organizing committee admitting Thursday that refunds have been requested for 810,000 of the 4.45 million tickets sold – a number that equates to 18 percent of tickets sold for the Games.
Applications or refunds needed to be submitted by November 2020 following the rescheduling of the Games, and refunds are set to be processed through December.
“While we plan to resell the refunded tickets, how and when they will be resold has not yet been decided,” the organizers said.
The status of the Games with regard to spectator attendance remains uncertain, with no decision set to be made on fans until the spring of 2021.
It means there is likely to be a mad rush for tickets from those able to travel and attend, but if travel restrictions remain tight, and concerns over social distancing and mass gatherings remain, the 2021 Games may play out in front of empty stands – or maybe even not at all.