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Comcast protected if coronavirus forces Olympics cancellation, CEO says

Thomas Barrabi

NBCUniversal parent Comcast has financial contingencies in place if the ongoing coronavirus outbreak forces officials to cancel the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo this summer, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said on Tuesday.

With governments around the world imposing precautionary measures to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, officials have raised the possibility that the 2020 Olympics could be postponed or canceled to mitigate the potential health risk. The event is expected to draw millions of visitors from around the world

“In the event that it didn’t, we have insurance and contractual protections,” Roberts said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, according to Deadline.

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Comcast-owned NBCUniversal is paying a total of $7.65 billion for exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympics through the year 2032. Ahead of the 2020 games, Comcast has secured more than $1.1 billion in national advertising commitments.

The 2020 Olympics are scheduled to run from July 24 through Aug. 9. The International Olympic Committee has spent $5.5 billion on preparations for this cycle.

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The novel coronavirus outbreak has roiled international markets and sparked fears of a global pandemic. More than 89,000 people have been infected and more than 3,000 people have died from the virus.

U.S. authorities have reported nine deaths, all of which occurred in Washington state.

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International Olympic Committee officials have expressed optimism that the 2020 games will go on as scheduled. Preparations have continued as if they will occur.

"For us, the games are going ahead on the 24th of July, and we confidently expect to deliver them on that date," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said at the press conference. "All the advice we've been given is that that can go ahead."

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