Nearly 3.25 million tickets were sold for the Paris Olympics after a first sales phase launched more than a month ago, a “success” according to Tony Estanguet, who again defended its pricing policy on Thursday, after a controversy over prices deemed excessive by some.
This first phase put on sale in packs of three tickets minimum (30 maximum) nearly a third of the 10.5 million tickets for the 2024 Olympic Games.
Of these 3.25 million tickets, nearly 13% were sold at 24 euros, 70% at less than 100 euros and 4.5% at more than 200 euros, detailed the organizers.
“This gives a good idea of the distribution,” said Tony Estanguet, head of the Paris Olympics organizing committee (Cojo) on Thursday.
Two-thirds of the buyers are French, he said, adding that a total of 158 nations were represented among the buyers.
Shortly after the launch of this first phase, on February 15, criticism appeared in particular on social networks concerning the prices sometimes considered prohibitive for certain places, such as these tickets at 690 euros for playoffs in athletics for example.
This wave of tension, shaking the objective of “Popular Games” displayed by the organizers, had forced them to justify themselves, recalling that one million tickets at 24 euros would ultimately be offered to the public, and five million at 50 euros and less.
The subject even landed on Wednesday in the Senate during the session of questions to the government. The Minister of Sports and the Olympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, questioned on the question of these prices deemed excessive, reiterated that she was attentive to the “accessibility” of tickets.
– “Generating income and ensuring a popular festival” –
“There is such an expectation, such enthusiasm, that in any case we will not be able to satisfy everyone. We are sorry about that”, assured Tony Estanguet again. “We’re sorry about that. But to say that it’s a failure, no, we can’t,” he said. “We sold a third of our tickets in three weeks, it’s a huge craze. It’s a real success,” he said.
The second phase of ticket sales, this time individually, will begin from March 15, with a new draw. This time, 1.5 million tickets will go on sale.
Tickets for the unprecedented opening ceremony on the Seine – with tickets ranging from 90 euros to 2,700 euros – will notably be put on sale, as will access to the closing ceremony.
“The greatest finals, the most requested moments will arrive there for sale”, assured Tony Estanguet. The prices for the finals of certain sports will vary between 50 euros and 160 euros for the breaking finals for example, or between 95 and 980 euros for the basketball finals.
“We have issues that are difficult to reconcile, both to generate income (…) and on the other to ensure that it is a popular celebration”, recognized the boss of the organizing committee.
The planned ticketing revenue should bring in nearly 1.4 billion euros, – hospitality (top-of-the-range packages) included -, out of an overall budget of 4.4 billion euros, i.e. one third of the budget of the Committee of organization.