Why the Summer Olympics are held in July, August despite heat

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A heat wave scorching Japan is raising questions about timing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics during July and August, typically the annual peak for temperatures and humidity, and the health risks that might pose for athletes and spectators.

When Tokyo first hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964, they were held during the cooler, drier month of October. The 1968 Mexico City games were also held in October.

But most Summer Olympics for the past three decades have been held in July or August, recognized as an ideal time window for TV networks to cover the event.

They pay billions of dollars for broadcasting rights during these months when the global sports calendar is otherwise light, increasing the chances of capturing a bigger audience.

Neal Pilson, the former president of CBS Sports, which broadcast the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics in the United States, said “the IOC is well aware of American network preferences for the timing of the Summer and Winter games,” referring to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The Summer Olympics are simply of less value if held in October because of pre-existing program commitments for sports,” he told Reuters.

Read Reuters

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