Haru Basho to be held sans spectators

In a special meeting of the NSK board, it has been decided that the basho will take place, but spectators will not be admitted.

Hakkaku, the chairman of the board, says that the board had the fans across Japan in mind when making this decision.

This implies that the basho will be televised as usual.

The Osaka Edion Arena is smaller than the Kokugikan and it is estimated they will have to refund around 7000 tickets.

29 thoughts on “Haru Basho to be held sans spectators

      • It’s going to be weird seeing the bouts take place in an empty arena! I just hope none of the rikishi are infected; that would cause a lot more problems in the near future than those refunds will. Although; refunding 105,000 tickets is going to hurt financially!

        • Of course. But as the ministry of sports issued a request to “Cancel, postpone or scale down all sporting events”, it was clear that refunds will be required, because ignoring this request was out of the question. So that’s money gone down the river anyway.

        • Well, it’s pretty much impossible to postpone the tournament, so by holding it without spectators you can still get tv money and sponsorship money. A lot f costs would probably have incurred anyways, so financially thats the probably the best they can do.
          I’m pretty sure rikishi will be health checked regularly before and during the tournament.

  1. Well there goes my last chance to Hakuho gone up in smoke, or in a plume of coughs and sniffles.

  2. from kintamayama we know also that our heros will be drinking spirit air, replacing the germ-harboring usual spirit water
    i wonder if even the usual stop by of the great emperor will be omitted?

    • The Emperor only comes to view sumo at the Kokugikan, and sporadically at that.

      • In fact, at least since the Heisei Emperor’s time, it has always been in Hatsu basho only.

        • i guess these bashos, and years, are blowing by even faster than it seems
          the responses also indicate that unofficial (secret) visiting is better left unexplored

          who knows? before the story is over we may yet see a second closed door series, in tokyo
          thanks for straightening me out


  3. I wonder how the echoing silence of the empty hall will affect the wrestlers, especially those who seem to thrive on crowd reaction. Terutsuyoshi’s salt fling, Tochinoshin’s sprint back to the corner, Takayasu’s gorilla flex, Hokutofuji’s insanely intense pump-up routine and Enho’s errm… presence all being met with nothing but the solemn, impassive faces of the shimpan. It could be a bad basho to be a fan favourite.

    • OTOH, there are some rikishi’s for whom the crowd is a distraction, and who go through all those intricate pre-bout rituals just to try and isolate themselves from the gazes. I expect some surprise performances.

  4. Ridiculous. Why risk having wrestlers infect each other? Cancel. Cancel. Cancel. It’s been done before. It’ll give our battered heroes another two months to recover from previous injuries.

    • Hey, battered heroes, hands up who wants to fight! That’s unanimous, let’s do it.

    • The rikishi interact with each other all the time. They go on degeiko, they have ichimon practices. Cancelling the basho would not help. Furthermore, if you’re going to send them all back to Tokyo now, you’re going to put all of them at Shin-Osaka station together – and together with passers-by. And then at Tokyo station, and so on. It would be very difficult to move 600+ rikishi without using some sort of public transport.

      • Everything you say is true (you are a sumo star!) but the situation is changing on a timescale of hours. With seven days to go, I would not be surprised to see a cancellation. We are all in for a rough time. I hope all sumo fans and rikishi come out safe and sound on the other end.

  5. In addition to refunding the spectator ticket, wouldn’t they also need to refund the ad banner for the basho ?
    (Or just “carry the paid banner to the next basho ?)

    I don’t really see why they would still display the banners around the dohyo in a basho with no spectator. NHK usualy just “zoom out” on the dohyo when the banner are passing. And that’s when they usualy choose to display statistic, or just show other angle of view of the dohyo to somewhat “not show” the banner on tv. Since it is a ad free national tv channel.

    Banners are in reality, just displayed for the public in the arena. So If no one is there to see them, what’s the point then!

    • Surprisingly, it seems the plan is to go on with kensho as usual, and negotiate with any sponsors who want to cancel. Apparently they believe TV exposure is going to work well enough.

      Mind you, the details will be ironed out during the coming week. Perhaps they will meet resistance from too many sponsors.

  6. It’s going to be really weird to see the last bout of top-division being as silent as any match of maezumo or jonokuchi…

  7. its no surprise that this is the outcome.

    its one thing to cope with the losses from non-sale spectator tickets.
    its another thing to compensate on top of that millions from the
    loss of tv rights with a cancelled basho.

    • losses from non-sale spectator tickets

      Not sure what this means. The only tickets “not sold” are those GIVEN AWAY anyway. So, no loss if the tourney is cancelled. The ticket revenue from ACTUAL sales will be costly.

      Food, Saki, SWAG, collectables, and picture sales will take a hit.

      Loss of fan interaction is a much bigger issue, than lost ticket sales.

      millions from the loss of tv rights with a cancelled basho.

      As far as I know; only NHK broadcasts the tourney. The international channel is subscription based; so one cancelled tourney is not a loss of revenue. The public outlet most likely doesn’t pay for rights to the local broadcast.

      Sumo loses millions of dollars per year by being on the pubic broadcaster, AND NOT having rights deals.

      • Actually, both NHK and Abema broadcast (or otherwise carry) the basho. NHK pays a hefty sum for it. I’ll find you the exact figures as posted in the press later on. The assumption that they broadcast for free is incorrect.

      • When NHK refused to carry the broadcast of the Nagoya 2010 tournament in the wake of the rikishi gambling scandal, a figure of 500 million yen was quoted as the per-basho rights fee.


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