Facing Olympic corruption charges, Dentsu out as IOC broadcast partner in Asia

by Jun 16, 2023Featured Article, News

Facing corruption charges linked to the Tokyo Olympics, Japanese marketing giant Dentsu will no longer be a major broadcast rights holder in Asia.

The International Olympic Committee said Thursday it has awarded exclusive rights for four Olympics from 2026 to 2032 to the Switzerland-based, Chinese-owned sports marketing agency Infront.

The 22-market Asian deal includes Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Taiwan and Vietnam, but not China, Japan or South Korea.

A statement from the IOC and Infront did not mention Dentsu, which was the called the “gatekeeper” for selling Asian rights to broadcasters starting with the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics through the 2024 Paris Summer Games.

Dentsu and other companies were charged in February by prosecutors in Japan for collusion in commercial contracts for the Tokyo Olympics. A former Dentsu executive is implicated in a separate bribery case linked to Olympic sponsorship.

Dentsu helped Tokyo win the hosting contest in 2013, after losing the previous vote to Rio de Janeiro four years earlier, and also is implicated in a French investigation of suspected buying votes of IOC members.

The scandals in Japan led to the withdrawal of Sapporo’s candidacy to host the 2030 Winter Olympics, which it had been favored to win.

Infront already holds Olympic broadcast rights in sub-Saharan Africa and is a long-time partner of FIFA and winter sports. The agency has been run for 18 years by Philippe Blatter, a nephew of former FIFA president and IOC member Sepp Blatter. It was bought in 2015 by Chinese corporation Wanda.

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