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Cancelled Grand Prix latest blow to Australian economy

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This is another huge hit to the Australian economy and Victoria in particular with the Australian Grand Prix expected to be cancelled for the second year in a row

Reports suggest Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula and Australian Grand Prix CEO Andrew Westacott are expected to make the announcement today at 3pm eastern

Now you’ll remember The multi-million-dollar event was moved from its usual March date to November this year, after its cancellation in 2020. But that new date will also be cancelled

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation presented a COVID-safe plan to the government, arguing the event could be run safely for crowds and the community at large, with racing teams operating in a bubble.

However, following Prime Minister Scott Morrison slashing international flight numbers the plan appears to be less feasible now.

Organisers need several weeks’ notice to cancel shipping arrangements, as some equipment is sent by sea.

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Tokyo’s economic games get underway | ticker VIEWS

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Tokyo's economic games get underway.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are officially underway. But in light of the ongoing pandemic, are they really worth it?

We already know that global sporting events can successfully take place in the midst of a pandemic. Take this year’s Formula One season for example, which has moved around the world with relative ease.

Similarly, 15,000 Britons recently attended the Men’s 2021 Wimbledon Final, and up to 60,000 attended the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium.

In each of these instances, authorities have backed the economic argumentgiving fans some much-needed sports action.

Japan has put strict coronavirus measures in place to reduce exposure to Covid-19. This comes despite the nation recording over 850,000 cases, and a devastating 15,000 deaths.

However, Japan is a strong vaccination nation. Around 23 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) says the Games will have “well above” 80 percent of Olympic and Paralympic village residents vaccinated. In addition, between 70 and 80 percent of the media will be vaccinated.

Spectators are banned from this year’s Olympics. All athletes and delegates must be tested before departure and on arrival.

Do people even want the Game to go ahead?

There has been strong opposition to the Olympics taking place. In fact, a local newspaper suggests 80 percent of Japanese people want the Games postponed or cancelled entirely.

Similarly, athletes have also expressed concerns over the Games. Tennis’ World Number 2, Naomi Osaka believes there should be a wider discussion about whether the Games proceed.

“If it’s putting people at risk, and if it’s making people very uncomfortable, then it definitely should be a discussion.”

Naomi osaka

But these aren’t the first Olympics to experience controversy. In fact, there seems to be controversy surrounding most Olympics before they even begin.

Kirsten Holmes from Curtin University says the Tokyo Olympics are no different.

“In previous Games like Athens or Rio, there was a lot of negative press about whether the athlete’s village will be ready on time and the displacement of local people.

“Yet when the events themselves were held, they were very successful. They painted the host city in a positive light on the global stage.”

How much will the Tokyo Games cost?

The already-delayed Tokyo Games are expected to exceed USD $26 billion.

The IOC has a strict agreement with Japanese organisers. In fact, the IOC are the only body that are able to cancel the Games. If Tokyo cancels, they have to foot the bill.

The IOC expects to make 70 percent of its cut from broadcast rights, and an additional 18 percent from sponsorship opportunities.

But remember, the Olympics are funded by taxpayers. So, it might be worth giving the locals a thoughtespecially because international tourism is off the cards.

All eyes are set on Tokyo as the Opening Ceremony gets underway. Photo: @erikzunder

Health vs. economics

In light of the ongoing pandemic, Tokyo is currently under strict state of emergency conditions. This means there will be no bars, restaurants, or karaoke venues operating if they serve alcohol.

Tokyo residents are expected stay at home and watch the games on the couch.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also chimed in.

“The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted,” he says.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

But he also also says “zero cases” may not be a true indicator of success, especially given Tokyo’s increasing Covid-19 numbers.

The Olympic cluster had already grown to over 80 on Wednesday this week, with even more athletes testing positive and unable to travel.

If teammates are listed ‘close contacts’, they can continue training under strict protocols.

But are these rules and protocols designed to limit the spread of the virus? Or are they measures to ensure the Games can proceed? I’m not sure if they are mutually exclusive, and neither does the WHO Director-General.

“The pandemic is a test and the world is failing.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Mr Adhanom Ghebreyesu predicts more than 100,000 COVID-19 deaths before the Olympic flame goes out on 8 August.

With such strong opposition and rising case numbers, nations have a simple choice: straighten up the health response, or cash in.

Tokyo 2020 might be one of the most successful Olympics of the modern era. As organisers weigh up the costs and hope the rewards outweigh the risk.

We will just have to wait and see. Nevertheless, I suspect the Games might be a welcome relief for locked down communities, and the global sporting community.

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How did Tokyo make it to the opening ceremony?

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They are the Olympic Games that many people thought wouldn’t – or shouldn’t – happen.

However, after a turbulent journey, the Tokyo Games are finally here.

After being put on hold by a pandemic, the most unique Olympic Games in history will officially begin today. Final preparations are taking place, ahead of the opening ceremony.

Shrouded in uncertainty, and marred by controversy and a cost blowout, the lead up to the games has also seen calls for them to be cancelled or delayed again.

“We had doubts every day. We deliberated. We discussed. There were sleepless nights,” according to IOC President Thomas Bach.

However, he claims says cancellation was never an option.

“The IOC never abandons the athletes.”

Thomas bach

But what about the host nation – where most people are opposed to the Games going ahead?

“Japan had an enormous positive output to olympics but that shifted after pandemic started,” Barbara Holthus, the editor of Japan Through the Lens of the Tokyo Olympics, tells Ticker News.

Still, organisers have repeatedly resisted calls to pull the pin.

Simon Denyer is The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo. He says there’s “indifference and in some cases outright hostility to these games happening here”.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has promised to deliver a “safe and secure” event.

Do Japanese people actually believe that will happen?

Well, according to a recent poll, two-thirds of the population do not.

Some health experts have even expressed concerns that the Olympics could become a COVID-19 super-spreader event. 

Sports economist Simon Chadwick wants organisers to embrace simple and clear messaging.

“Whether they like it or not, the organisers have got to strip this right back to some basic essentials and they need to make sure this is about safety, security, trust and respect”, he told Ticker News.

Just a month ago it was decided up to 10,000 fans would be allowed into venues.

That decision was reversed – with all spectators banned.

“There’s fences around venues, streets are closed off, it’s really separated from the population. There isn’t any sense of excitement I can discern in the city about the olympics,” according to Simon Chadwick.

The jam-packed Games will feature 339 medal events across 42 venues with more than 11,000 athletes expected to compete.

Former Olympic swimming champion Grant Hackett hopes once the sports spectacle begins, the magic of the Games will return.

“A lot of people are inspired about what a human being can do and hopefully that inspiration, gives inspiration back to community across the world,” he told Ticker News.

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Why businesses should be tapping into the world of eSports

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Gaming has run a parallel race with tech businesses for years now with many industries embracing the competitive advantages.

CARLOS ALIMURUNG EXPLAINS THE PERKS OF MOBILE GAMING

It’s no secret that eSports is an area that many gamers imagined thriving since the early days of couch multiplayer – Businesses are now witnessing the momentum first-hand with companies such as ONE eSports acting as a vanguard to this new era.

CEO of ONE eSports, Carlos Alimurung was able to shine some light on the industry looking to explain the benefits for players, sponsors, and streamers.

Mobile gaming, whilst often considered “beneath” many traditional gamers have seen exponential growth with the power of smartphones and mobile devices increasing significantly, and eSports teams have noticed the potential of the games on offer and the convenience with which the platforms contain.

Celebrating the narrative of content creators and players within the industry is another area boasted by ONE eSports as they encourage and promote the players, seeing them as no different to athletes seen on a field, court, or even the Olympics. Though as Carlos explains “eSports doesn’t need the Olympics” – A wonderful expression of confidence for a passionate group of gamers desiring to be taken seriously.

Balancing a traditionally male-dominated industry can be a challenging task for a lot of big businesses which look to make a difference.

Articles outlining the struggles of female employees within game development are rife and deeply troubling, with major developers coming under fire for their response to the traumatic experiences inflicted upon women in the gaming industry.

INCLUSION IS PART OF THEIR INDUSTRY MISSION

They seek to enable and uplift players, streamers, and content creators of all genders to succeed – a breath of fresh air in an otherwise tainted space.

The numbers of female players look to increase with nearly 47% of gamers already being female there is plenty of room to see growth within eSports. (It doesn’t matter what gender you are when you’re on the business end of a no-scope trick shot in the arena!)

carlos alimurung gives insight into the business branding within esports

With brands like Netflix looking to get involved in the gaming industry, it is no longer a question of how but when other major companies will look to plug in and play.

Brands will also need to get smart about how their marketing will be presented to a younger more active audience (without hitting players over the head with it) Games like the basketball simulator: NBA 2K21 integrated unskippible advertising during loading screens which saw fans upset with being force-fed content onto their screens.

And whilst some could argue this made the game more authentic as advertising of course coats the sporting space, there are definitely more clever ways to do this… the spectacle of an esports arena for instance and the opportunities available have untapped potential, again the key is to be clever with the integration of marketing to Gen Z.

EXPANDING REACH

eSport will continue to expand its traditional reach from North America and Southeast Asia through onto Australian shores the question again, is not how but when this will occur as many Aussie gamers go without representation and limited faculty on home soil.

With the pandemic and vaccine rollout yet to play out in full there is a great opportunity to expand the digital market and competitive gaming space worldwide.

For the full chat with Carlos and more gaming goodness check out the rest of Ticker Gaming

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