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[News Focus] Winter Olympics scheduled 6 months after Summer Olympics

Samsung, LG may see historic TV sales during 2021-2022, despite delay from epidemic

A high-end TV is showcased at a gallery in downtown Seoul in April 2019 in a collaboration between tech and art under the theme “Meet Vincent van Gogh.” Korean tech firms’ marketing, buoyed by a series of sports events, will likely be vitalized for up to 20 months between 2021 and 2022. (LG Electronics)
A high-end TV is showcased at a gallery in downtown Seoul in April 2019 in a collaboration between tech and art under the theme “Meet Vincent van Gogh.” Korean tech firms’ marketing, buoyed by a series of sports events, will likely be vitalized for up to 20 months between 2021 and 2022. (LG Electronics)

SEJONG -- Since 1994, the world’s four biggest, quadrennial sports games have been held in pairs on even-number years – the Summer Olympics and the UEFA Euros on one year, with the FIFA World Cup and the Winter Olympics two years later.

And none of these events has been held on an odd-number year for more than a century since 1896.

International sports fans had been eagerly waiting for the Euro 2020 (also called the European Football Championship) and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.

But the Euros and the Summer Olympics are delayed by about one year respectively to June 11-July 11, 2021, and July 23-Aug. 8, 2021 in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Both games’ official title of “2020” is likely to be maintained without being changed to “2021.”

This marks the first time that the two big events will be held in odd-number years, when the World Athletics Championships and the World Championships for Swimming have been scheduled biennially.

As the revised schedule of the Tokyo Olympics was confirmed on Monday, there is a high possibility that the schedules of the 2021 World Championships for Swimming in Fukuoka, Japan (originally slated for July 16-Aug. 1) and the 2021 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, US (from Aug. 6-15) will be delayed to 2022 to avoid overlapping with the Olympic Games. Numerous global athletics and swimmers participate in both the Summer Olympics and the championships.

As a result, the globe will see a series of global sports events scheduled in a row, as an unprecedented case from 2021 through 2022.

The Euro 2020 could avoid overlapping with the now-defunct Confederations Cup -- whose contestants comprise soccer winners from each continent and the latest World Cup winner -- as the quadrennial event was abolished after the 2017 event.

The 24-team European soccer tournament, dubbed “the World Cup without Brazil and Argentina” among some fans, was drawing more attention as 11 countries (12 Europeans cities including two in the UK) will jointly host matches for the first time since the championship launched in 1960.

Additionally, the Copa America -- the soccer championship among South American countries -- will be held from June 11-July 11, 2021, as a simultaneous delay by one year.
 
(Graphic by Kim Sun-young/The Korea Herald)
(Graphic by Kim Sun-young/The Korea Herald)

In 2022, the Winter Olympic Games will be hosted by Beijing from Feb. 4-20. This is only six months after the Summer Olympics close, in continuation of the sports fever.

And the two championships for athletics and swimming are expected to trail, possibly during the summer of 2022.

In addition, for Asian fans in the autumn of the year, the Asian Games are scheduled for Sept. 10-25 in Hangzhou, China.

Two months later, the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals are slated for Nov. 21-Dec. 18 in Qatar, which is to record the first tournament during winter on the basis of the Northern Hemisphere. This was in consideration of the sizzling temperatures in the country during summer, while the biggest soccer event is usually held between June-July.

The coming World Cup will be the second case in Asia and the first in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, in the same vein, the sports-connected marketing of global enterprises in even-number years have delayed to an odd-number year as an exceptional case.

Among major South Korean companies are Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, which were estimated to have had mapped out vigorous sales strategies for TVs and smartphones in preparation for the UEFA Euro and the Summer Olympics.

Though their even-number year sales promotion ended in vain due to COVID-19 outbreak, Samsung and LG might have set aside the chances of brisk sales for a record-breaking spell “up to seven quarters, or about 20 months, in a row” from the second quarter of 2021 through the fourth quarter of 2022 on the back of the coincidental clustering of big sports events, said a research analyst in Seoul.

He said the issue is a recovery pace in purchasing power of consumers worldwide, adding that it is not easy to predict the timing of normalization in global consumer sentiment -- despite the optimism from back-to-back big sports -- amid the ongoing coronavirus disaster.

An online commenter likened the situation to the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, which was held nine months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the South Africa World Cup, which was held after many countries were hit by the global financial crisis.

He claimed that big sports games had often brought the effect of reinvigorating depressed consumer and business sentiment with marked sales growth in state-of-the-art home appliances.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)

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