Browse all

Will the Tokyo 2020 merch enter the resell spiral?

Olympic products for many are a must-have in sports collections

Will the Tokyo 2020 merch enter the resell spiral? Olympic products for many are a must-have in sports collections

In Japan, it was announced this week that foreign visitors to the country will not be allowed at the next Olympics; moreover, as the official committee explains, several stores for official merchandising are currently closed or will close in the coming weeks. Despite being for clear safety and health reasons, these Japanese government decisions complicate fans' access to official merchandising purchases. Unable to have access to physical stores, they are forced to arrive at the products exclusively via the internet, paying an increased price, both for shipping, then also for customs costs, and this, could discourage many about investing in Tokyo2020 branded products.

On Reddit, for example, there are those who ask Japanese users to buy for them a pin of the Olympic Games; another was looking for a marble coaster with the Tokyo 2020 logo. No wonder the attention to the merchandising of the Olympics, especially by collectors and sports fans towards the search for the items of the older editions. On ebay, a set of original Bejin 2008 brooches cost €30 (plus shipments), while a coffee cup with the Tokyo 2020 logo is at the €46 departure auction, as is a London 2012 brooch. To move to other prices, a gold medal of the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina.

The attention to the items of this event is great for two reasons. In the beginning, in fact, there is a hype for badges and products with the symbol of the Olympics. As historian and collector Markus Osterwalder explains on insidethegames, the brooches or stamps of the first editions of Athens 1881 or Berlin 1936 are highly sought after memorabilia. "In the end", he says, "what differentiates one edition from another is merchandising". Each Olympics has its own city, its own logo and an object and collections of personalized garments. 

The garments of the Olympic collections are very attractive as memories of an edition that is different each time and with unique references - such as mascots: for example, this year it will be Miraitowa and Someity (a kind of Super Goodies). Fans try to have something that brings the logo of that unique world event and, this year, following this principle there should be even more attention. Because the fact that the sporting event is accompanied by the pandemic and a historic postponement, has made the Tokyo 2020 brand on the items even more special.


Interviewed by sportsnet, a collector explained that: I am not interested in buying Olympic souvenirs. But I'd be more interested in buying something if the Olympics were cancelled. Then they would be a piece of conversation, a curiosity." This kind of thinking defines the consumerist approach towards Tokyo 2020.