From tickets to time zones, what you need to know about the 2020 Summer Olympics


With the Summer Olympics in Tokyo now only a year away — the opening function is July 24, 2020 — the arrangements for the Games is in full motion.

Various new sports will be entering the Summer Olympics program, with karate, skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing performing their debut, while baseball and softball make a return after a two-Games absence. In all, there will be 33 sports contested in at the Tokyo Games, with about 5,000 medals set to be won.

Here is some important report to know, from how to get tickets (good luck) to important dates and other frequently asked questions.

Key dates

The Olympics run July 24 until Aug. 9. Softball and soccer go underway before the official opening, with matches scheduled July 22. Rowing and archery start on the day of the opening function with medal rounds the next day.

Some of the latest sports will be featured early: skateboarding and 3-on-3 basketball beginning on the second day.

Time zone difference

Tokyo is 13 hours advanced of America’s East Coast, but NBC will again live stream countless hours and events. At the 2012 Olympics in London, NBC live-streamed 3,500 hours of competition, the first season all Olympic events were streamed. Then in 2016, NBC live-streamed 4,500 hours of competition, including each event live.

Ticket information

Approximately 70% of available tickets have been booked for Japanese residents. Tickets are currently only accessible through authorized ticket resellers — CoSport is the lone distributor for the U.S. — but numbers of tickets are sold out already for the initial distribution phase.

A next lottery phase will open in August for citizens on Japan after 7.5 million people made the Tokyo 2020 ID registration. It’s not clear exactly when more tickets will be obtainable in the U.S., but any unsold tickets yet around in spring 2020 will be sold worldwide on a first-come, first-served basis, at the equivalent prices offered in Japan.

CoSport initiated the ticket request phase May 9 and ended it at the end of the month. Live ticket sales started July 9 and continue, with select sports still available, such as weight lifting, basketball, and handball. Opening and closing functions are sold out.

Authorized ticket resellers can also apply heavy fees along with the ticket purchase. For example, a basketball ticket for July 26, 2020, at Saitama Super Arena in category A — tickets are sold in price categories rather than seat sections — has a face value of 24,500 yen ($237.73). The handling fee applied by CoSport is $47.55, an extra 20% onto the ticket’s face value, bringing the overall ticket price to $298.44. Want it sent to your house? That’ll be another $35.


Japan last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964 (Sapporo and Nagano hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972 and 1998, respectively), and some of the same memorable venues from the last Tokyo Games will be used this time around. The Nippon Budokan, used for the judo championship in 1964, will once again hold judo events, as well as karate.

Tokyo is building just eight new venues. The other 35 are existing buildings, with some receiving repairs or the addition of temporary stands to get them fit for the Olympics.

One of those new buildings will host the opening and closing functions. The new Tokyo National Stadium will be built in November, with a 60,102 capacity. The stadium will also host the women’s football final.

With a few exceptions, venues are in the Tokyo Bay Zone or Heritage Zone. The latter area is in central Tokyo, with several venues used in 1964. The Tokyo Bay Zone has the greatest of the new facilities

Olympic expenses

Hosting the Summer Olympics is expensive, even with various of the stadiums and venues already built. According to the Associated Press, Tokyo is paying at least $20 billion, with 70% of that taxpayer money.

The new national stadium costs $1.25 billion and won’t be ready for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan as first planned because the original stadium plans were dismissed once costs soared to around $2 billion.

The Olympic Village, built alongside Tokyo Bay, is another pricey project that remained despite efforts to lower costs.

The Los Angeles Times reported Paris’ 2024 Summer Olympics will cost $8 billion and Los Angeles in 2028 is projected at $7 billion, making Tokyo’s budget seem more extreme.

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