Olympics: 2020 Tokyo Games schedule big events in prime time for US market

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (centre) and Mr Yoshitaka Sakurada, Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, at the final event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Flag and Paralympic Flag Tour, on March 30, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (DPA) - In a boon to American television viewers - and broadcasters - the 2020 Summer Olympics have arranged gold-medal events in several marquee sports to coincide with prime time in the United States.

The schedule that Tokyo organisers released on Tuesday (April 16) lists swimming, track and beach volleyball finals beginning well before noon in Tokyo, which runs 13 hours ahead of Eastern time.

By comparison, gymnastics, football and other sports will stick to traditional afternoon and evening start times.

The early schedules should not be surprising because NBC Universal ranks as the 800-pound gorilla in Olympic broadcasting, paying more than US$7.5 billion (S$10.1 billion) for rights to the Summer and Winter Games through 2032.

With the 2020 Olympics set to run from July 24 through to Aug 9, organisers have also included two "Super Saturdays" and a "Golden Sunday" packed with medal events running back-to-back.

The Saturday before the Aug 9 closing ceremony will feature 30 finals, including championship games in men's basketball, footballand baseball.

Elsewhere on the schedule, the men's and women's marathon will start at 6am to avoid potentially high temperatures later in the day.

Organisers have allotted more than a week to hold four days of surfing competition, depending on wave conditions.

Boxing has been included, but only on a provisional basis while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) conducts an inquiry into the sport's scandal-plagued international federation.

The IOC could decide to drop the sport or continue without the federation's involvement.

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