It’s already been called “the most expensive” summer Olympic Games on record, and, because of COVID-19 precautions, not a single athlete has even competed. Organizers are frantically trying to come up with options that will stem the financial bleeding while also putting on a great show that honors the athletes as well as the spirit of the Olympic Games, while also providing the profitable entertainment IOC planners and their media and hospitality partners are accustomed to. So far, the announced plan revisions include changes to what sports media is calling “fringe” areas of the Games, emphasizing that the IOC is not cutting any athletes or competitive events from the Games… yet. Nor are they planning to make any cuts to the biggest view draws, the opening and closing ceremonies, or the torch relay, a prime sponsorship draw. Where cuts are being made seem to include “quantity” of items rather than entire line items. For example, fewer banners will be flown, stakeholders will be given fewer tickets, and fewer buses will carry people from site-to-site. At this point, the IOC and other event organizers seem to be doing their best to produce an event that appears largely unchanged to the viewing audience. It is not an easy task when the amount of money that needs to be cut from the budget is significant. According to media reports, the problem is that most of the bigger ticket items have already been purchased, including the massive national stadium and the elaborate swim complex, two venues that will get a significant amount of screen time. Speaking to the media, IOC executive director for the Summer Olympic Games, Christophe Dubi, said, “We have many measures, and sometimes they look small… But when you take them all together, it will represent a large result in terms of both simplifications and hopefully some significant savings…” If savings are being filed in the “hopeful” box, organizers need to be looking at new and innovative ways to bring more money into the coffers. That could include attracting larger audiences and more attention to the Games. A tough challenge, given the already huge popularity of the Olympics. But, more eyes on the events means more sponsorship money. This is, again, an uphill battle. A flagging economy already caused some sponsors to back out of their deals… leading to a shortfall that will have to be made up somehow. Just saying there’s not much to cut won’t get them there. They need to figure out better ways to get more people paying attention. This is accomplished through access, content, and good stories. Fortunately, good stories are something the Olympics tends to have plenty of… The question, now, is how planners will package those stories for their audience.

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Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.