— Published 22 February 2023

Paris 2024 ticketing, a success at a high price

A success. The word is not a journalistic interpretation. It is quoted in full by the Paris 2024 OCOG to evoke the start of the ticketing for the Olympic events. After a week of selling tickets in packs of three – the first phase of the operation – several sports or disciplines are already sold out.

The OCOG explains in a press release: climbing, fencing, judo, breaking, skateboarding and BMX (racing and freestyle) do not have a single ticket left to sell for this first phase. All available tickets were sold in less than a week. However, the organizers want to make it clear that the sports and disciplines in question are not sold out for good. A new round of tickets will be available in the next phase, scheduled to start on May 11 (with a draw between March 15 and April 20). It will offer single tickets.

In its press release, Paris 2024 also explains that it is still possible to buy tickets for the final of the women’s rugby 7s at the Stade de France, the final of the equestrian event (cross-country) in Versailles, mountain biking on the hill of Elancourt, canoeing-kayaking sprint in Vaires-sur-Marne, or for an evening session of basketball at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille. About 15 sports/disciplines offer entry prices of 50 euros or less.

According to the OCOG, it will also be possible to obtain tickets for athletics, golf, handball, tennis, table tennis and volleyball.

Finally, the last precision of the organizers, the French were the most motivated for this first phase of sale. They represented more than two thirds of the buyers among the 112 nationalities listed.

So much for the official version. It evokes a success. And it proves it by the figures. Nothing to say. The Paris 2024 Olympic Games ticketing had already fulfilled the expectations of the Parisian organizers even before the opening of the sales platform, on February 15, with 3 million registrations for the draw. The sale itself is confirming the trend.

But the problem is that the first week of sales of tickets in packs of three – with a maximum of 30 tickets per buyer – is already bringing a lot of disappointed, disgruntled and frustrated people. And they are making it known. Since the last few days, the discontent is expressed on social networks. It is expected to increase in the coming weeks, as the offer of the first phase will mechanically become less and less attractive.

The price of success? Not only. For the most part, the dissatisfied complain about the prices proposed by the organizing committee. Many expected to be able to make their shopping in shelves proposing a broad variety of places to 24 euros, the price of entry on which the COJO largely centered its communication. They did not find them.

The OCOG Paris 2024 reminds it in its last press release: a million tickets are proposed at an entry price of 24 euros, for all the sports (except surfing which is not the object of ticketing) and on all the phases of sale. But the organizers fail to mention that nearly half of this million tickets are not intended for the general public. They have already been acquired by the State and the communities, within the framework of a ticketing with social vocation.

More embarrassing: the prices discovered by the Internet users at their entry on the platform often turn out to be very far from the image they had of Olympic Games presented as “accessible”. A journalist of the daily newspaper Ouest-France tells, in a long article written in the first person, his disappointment in front of the proposed prices.

Drawn at random to access the sales platform for a 48-hour period, starting on Friday 17 February in the late morning, he hoped to find tickets for athletics at the Stade de France at 24 euros, or even a little more, for morning sessions, without finals on the program. He didn’t find anything for less than 100 euros. He tried swimming. Same cold shower: the cheapest place was proposed at 150 euros for a session with only heats. Gymnastics? 260 euros in category A for a qualification session of rhythmic gymnastics.

Last December, the OCOG Paris 2024 had explained that it had increased the price of some places in its last budget revision. The maneuver was intended to compensate, by increasing revenues, the rising curve of expenses. And thus to be able to present a balanced budget. That’s elementary. But at what price.