Paris-2024 rebuts criticism of ticket prices – 05/26/2023 – Sport
Organizers of the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics have hit back at criticism of high prices ahead of the next release date for the buying public in the third quarter, saying prices are fair and important for balancing the event’s budget.
Disappointment over ticket access has mounted in France in recent weeks after two sales rounds, during which the widespread release of around 1 million tickets priced at €24 saw tickets sold out quickly, while tickets for many important competitions, including gymnastics, ran into hundreds of euros.
Some French athletes also criticized the prices, in the first significant sign of public backlash almost exactly a year before the opening ceremony in late July 2024.
Ministers and organizers said that several million tickets were available for less than 50 euros but sold out quickly, while premium seat prices showed no mismatch with ticket prices at the 2012 London Olympics. higher prices are needed to fund the event and subsidize cheaper tickets.
“For sure there is some frustration … we knew from the beginning that we would not be able to meet the demand,” Tony Estanguet, head of the Paris 2024 organizing committee, told reporters on Tuesday.
Estanguet, a three-time Olympic canoe slalom champion, said the public’s perception of prices did not reflect the fact that only 5% of tickets cost more than 400 euros.
“This is not enough as an answer for the thousands of people who would like to have cheaper tickets, but not everyone can have access to all categories at all sporting events,” he said.
Organizers said they had already sold 5.2 million tickets, of the eight million reserved for the general public, despite criticism over prices. The remainder will be released in the third quarter, Estanguet said, with no changes to pricing plans.
Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra also defended the price ranges, saying on Sunday that France had sought to avoid “a tax on the Games” and that the Olympics needed to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Part of the outcry over tickets stems from organizers’ attempt to present 2024 as “the People’s Games”, with a focus on making the event accessible to all. This came to the fore when the organizers also had to try to guarantee their ability to finance an event that they had committed to finance with minimal recourse to state coffers.
“The difference with the other Olympics is that they put a lot of emphasis on being the people’s Games, and they simply aren’t. Like Roland Garros or the Champions League, these are not €15 events,” said David Roizen, sports commentator and analyst.
The organizers’ budget for the 2024 Games was increased by 10% last year to €4.4 billion. The expectation is that just over a third of the money will come from ticket sales and hospitality, a total slightly higher than the London Olympic Games. The remainder is split between funding from the International Olympic Committee and partnerships with sponsors – a list of companies that organizers are still trying to add to.
In total, the event will cost just under nine billion euros, including the construction of buildings such as the Olympic Village.
After the last round of tickets was released in May, the reaction was swift. Popular competitions such as the women’s team gymnastics final had tickets offered at 690 euros, and tickets for the intermediate rounds of individual tennis were around 130 euros.
Amandine Buchard, a judoka from Martinique who won a silver medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, was among the athletes who took part in the debate.
“Olympics for all, they say. In fact, we’re going to have to take out loans so our families and loved ones can come and watch us,” she tweeted.
Then, organizers clarified that the athletes would receive a quota of tickets for their families.
The Interior Ministry, which handles Games security, will also make several hundred thousand free tickets available for the opening ceremony, an institution spokesman announced on Tuesday; the opening will include over a hundred boats sailing down the Seine. For the 100,000 paying guests at the ceremony, prices range from €80 to €2,700.
Additional reporting by Sara Germano in New York
Translated by Paulo Migliacci