Tokyo Olympics banning ticket holders from posting event video on social media

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are more than a year away, but controversy for ticket holders is already brewing.

Per the fine print on the terms and conditions of ticket purchase, attendees will be barred from posting personal videos from events on social media.

From the terms and conditions:

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“However, ticket holders can not record the videos and sounds taken or recorded at the venue without the IOC 's prior permission, such as television, radio, internet (including social media and live streaming etc.) and other electronic media.”

Fans can record videos, just not share them

So fans are allowed to record videos. They just can’t share them on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — not without getting the permission of the International Olympic Committee first.

Does the IOC really intend to limit the upside of standard social media use by enforcing a strict Tokyo 2020 ticket policy? (Getty)
Does the IOC really intend to limit the upside of standard social media use by enforcing a strict Tokyo 2020 ticket policy? (Getty)

It’s a decidedly old-school media approach to new-school media, which has created an ever-evolving landscape for sports leagues and events like the Olympics to manage.

Some leagues embrace social media

Some, like the NBA, take a progressive approach, encouraging fans and media outlets to use in-game videos on social media. The league also embraces the exposure it gains from its players and teams’ use of social media, not all of which, of course, is positive.

But the reach and potential to grow interest in the game presented by social media has played a significant role in the NBA’s continued ascent as one of the world’s most popular sports leagues.

How far the IOC intends to go in enforcing a strict social media policy for Tokyo 2020 is not clear. (Getty)
How far the IOC intends to go in enforcing a strict social media policy for Tokyo 2020 is not clear. (Getty)

Old-school approach

Tokyo and the IOC here are taking the opposite approach, prioritizing intellectual property rights over the potential upside of social media exposure. The strategy here appears to be one that could limit the Games’ exposure to potential new fans.

One big question raised by the policy involves the enforcement mechanism. How does the IOC intend to police this policy, and to what extent? Monitoring the massive world of social media and acting with cease and desist orders doesn’t seem a practical approach.

How strictly will the IOC enforce policy?

That dilemma may point to a wink/nod agreement between fans and the Games that sees organizers reserve the right take on social media posts they don’t see as beneficial.

Despite the policy, fans are likely to post videos from Tokyo 2020 events on their social media platforms without gaining prior permission from the IOC.

Here’s guessing that if said fans don’t give the IOC motivation to enforce its policy, they won’t face any blowback.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that still images fell under the same policy as video images. Ticket holders are permitted to post still images on social media, per Tokyo 2020.

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