— Published 6 March 2023

The Paris 2024 ticketing system, too expensive and too complex

The Paris 2024 OCOG likes polls. It has never refrained from ordering them, to measure the support of the French for the Olympic project or, more recently, their perception of the mascot of the Games, the unexpected Phrygian cap.

But the last survey of opinion is not of those of which one displays proudly the results in the lobby. Carried out by Odoxa for Winamax and RTL, it is based on the most painful point, a little more than 500 days before the opening of the Olympic Games: the price of the tickets.

A strong tendency emerges from the consultation, carried out on March 1st and 2nd with a sample of 1 005 persons aged 18 years or more. Without the least surprise, it joins the very numerous testimonies of Internet users collected by the media, French and foreign, since the opening on February 15th of the first phase of the ticketing: the places are expensive, much too expensive for a growing number of applicants.

For more than eight French people out of ten questioned by Odoxa (82%), the tickets to attend the Olympic Games of Paris 2024 are not affordable. And they are almost as numerous (79%) to estimate that the procedure set up by the OCOG for this first phase, dedicated to the packs of three places, cruelly lacks simplicity.

In just two weeks, the promise of the OCOG of an Olympic event accessible to all has already been shattered. The famous tickets at 24 euros, to the number of one million according to the organizers (but of which almost half was reserved by the State within the framework of a ticketing solidarity), escaped to the immense majority of the first drawn to the lot. Instead, they discovered a price list far from their expectations, with the obligation to buy at least three tickets for different sessions.

The Associated Press cites the testimony of an English teacher based in Paris, who was drawn last week to access the sales platform. She explains that she had initially targeted three sports – BMX, water polo and soccer – to share the Olympic experience with her 9-year-old son. But two of them were already sold out.

There were still tickets available for the soccer tournament, at 50 euros, but she had to make up her package with two other disciplines. So far, nothing very unexpected. The rules were known in advance. The prices of the possible sessions were less known: 150 euros for basketball or handball, 230 euros for swimming, 690 euros for a qualifying session in athletics.

Who can afford tickets at this price? she asks. I can’t. I really wanted to have tickets to the Olympics. I wanted my son to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience…in our city. But I’ve become disillusioned with the prices. It just doesn’t make sense.”

She gave up and closed her computer without completing her purchase. She is not the only one.

Will the next phases of ticketing reverse the trend? The OCOG hopes so. The second stage, also preceded by a draw – opened on March 15 – is scheduled to begin on May 11. It will concern single tickets.

This time, there is no risk of running into a complex procedure. And there is no need to put together a three-pack, with the feeling of having to buy two for unwanted sessions to ensure one for a sport of one’s choice.

But the prices are expected to be at least as dissuasive as for the first phase. The OCOG has never hidden that the most coveted places – finals of athletics, swimming, some team sports, but also the ceremonies – would not be offered in the packs, but only during the sale of the unit. But, very cautious in its communication, it did not reveal the price list of these sessions potentially the most requested.

It promises to be spectacular. It is difficult to imagine “accessible” seats for an athletics evening at the Stade de France when it costs more than 100 euros for a seat at the top of the stands during a session without any finals. It is also difficult to hope to live the “spectator experience” of a decisive match in a collective sport, knowing that it costs 130 euros for a single match of the preliminary phase of the women’s volleyball tournament.

Predictable consequence: the wave of discontent which does not cease rising in the opinion since the opening of the ticket office affects the image of the Games. With a little more than 500 days, it remains mostly positive. The poll published on Sunday, March 5 reveals that, for 69% of the French, the organization in Paris of the Olympic and Paralympic appointment is “a good thing“. But this result marks a decline of five points compared to October 2021.

For the rest, the survey shows a definite expectation of the French for the opening ceremony on the Seine, approved by 61% of respondents (+8 points compared to October 2022), and the idea shared by the majority (64%) that the Paris 2024 Games will create economic opportunities for France and the French.

But, bad point for the COJO, they are also a strong majority (64%) not to have confidence in the organizers to control the cost of the event and present in the end a balanced budget.