The Sports Examiner: Paris 2024 says it has sold 6.8 million tickets so far!

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“Taking into account the different stages of ticket sales already held (packs of tickets, followed by sales per unit), as well as the sales aimed at the various groups involved in the Games (travel and hospitality packages through the intermediary of On Location; stakeholders; communities; the sports movement; Olympic partners, etc.), Paris 2024 has already sold 6.8 million tickets for the Olympic Games, surpassing initial estimates.”

That’s from a Tuesday announcement by the Paris 2024 organizing committee, which has now sold 68% of all Olympic tickets planned to be available, with 14 months still remaining before the Games.

That’s impressive.

The statement noted that 3.25 million tickets were sold in the first wave of “ticket pack” sales and a further 1.89 million tickets in the second wave – more than the planned 1.5 million – for a retail total of 5.14 million. That means that another 1.66 million reserved for hospitality and travel packages and sponsors – out of about two million – have been reserved or sold.

The criticisms of ticket pricing continue to be heard, but the open market is hardly holding back. To meet the continuing high interest, another ticket sale is on the way:

“Additionally, to keep up with this considerable demand, Paris 2024 plans to open ticket sales again at the start of summer 2023 (on a date yet to be decided), focusing mainly on the competitions held in regions outside Paris, for football (Bordeaux, Nantes, Nice, Marseille, Lyon and Saint-Etienne), handball and basketball (Lille). These sales will be open to all in France as well as abroad. For the first time in the Paris 2024 sales process, the draw to purchasing timeslots will be replaced by direct sales.”

Another round of ticket sales for all events is slated for the end of the year and will continue through the Games.

The just-completed second-round of sales saw buyers from 178 countries, but 63.5% of the tickets sold went to buyers in France, with an average age of 40. In terms of cost and selection:

● “Almost 60 per cent of the tickets were priced at EUR 100 or less, with 17 per cent of tickets being sold at EUR 24.”

● “Team sports, for which the venues tend to be among the biggest and with the greatest number of sessions available, were the highest sellers as expected. Football was in first place for tickets sold, followed by basketball, handball, athletics and volleyball respectively.”

● “Tickets in all categories for triathlon, sports climbing, BMX racing, BMX freestyle and breaking sold out on the first day they became available (Thursday 11 May), in less than two hours! And sessions such as that where the famous French judoka Teddy Riner will compete (qualifying rounds in the morning and final phases in the evening), or the basketball 3×3 finals also sold out within two hours. The EUR 90 tickets for the Opening Ceremony were all taken up in less than an hour.”

Tickets for the Paralympic Games will begin on 9 October, with 2.8 million tickets to be made available and half of which will be priced at €25 or less. The most expensive seats are promised at €100 each.

The questions of how the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony on the Seine will be arranged are beginning to be answered. At a Tuesday news conference, it was explained that all spectators – the 100,000 with purchased tickets closer to the water – and those on the upper levels watching for free, will be required to register for tickets.

This will allow the organizers and especially the French and Parisian security officials to place people more evenly throughout the 6 km route, avoid any masses in one area and try to match where people will watch to the available transit to the area.

The Ile-de-France transit authorities have said that the system could manage up to 500,000 people coming to the 26 July ceremony, which would mean 400,000 free spectators, but French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said that he expected 600,000 in total, and explained:

“The high quays will be free and, in connection with the town hall of Paris, we have decided that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior to design, develop, finance and organize a secure pre-registration platform which will allow all the public to register and gain free access to the different areas of the high quays.”

Said Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet at a Tuesday news conference:

“When France organizes the Games — the last time was 100 years ago — it does so with ambition. It’s a challenge to organize a ceremony with these conditions but, again, it’s the biggest audience that France will ever have had, the most beautiful showcase. Our responsibility is to create dreams, to show how incredible this country is.”

Reuters reported that discussions were continuing about how to showcase the Olympic flame on the Eiffel Tower, but not at the top, already filled with various kinds of antennae.

The Opening Ceremony route will go from east to west in 91 boats, with another 25 in reserve for emergencies, with an additional 30 more craft for security. Police deployments are expected to reach 35,000 for the ceremony.

During the Games, there will be 30,000 police securing the Games, rising at a maximum of 45,000 on any single day. Darmanin noted that the security effort will be intense:

“We will be, in terms of security, extremely demanding towards those who will go to the low platforms, the high platforms or who will go to the stadiums, including with the private security management agents. We have increased the screening of the agents security, which sometimes explains the sector’s recruitment difficulties since we have required within the framework of the global security law levels of qualification, a clean criminal record and levels of moralization – let’s put it like that – much more higher than before.”

The threats are well known, from possible drone attacks to continuing protests of the changes in the French pension system. But the show is going on.

~ Rich Perelman

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