Paris 2024: an "accessible" and "popular" ticket office, really?

The Paris 2024 Games are becoming a little more concrete every day

Paris 2024: an "accessible" and "popular" ticket office, really?

The Paris 2024 Games are becoming a little more concrete every day. From February 15 and until March 15, fans of sporting achievements will be able to compose - provided they have registered for the draw for the ticket office and have been selected - their "packs" of three events Olympics they wish to attend from July 26 to August 11.

During this first phase, 3 million sesames are on sale and 80% of the sessions among the sports registered in the Olympic Games (OG) - except surfing in Tahiti, which will not have spectators - are open to the ticket office.

Unit sales will take place from May 11, according to the same principle of the preliminary draw, at the same time as the places for the most sought-after competitions will be offered (basketball finals, 100 meters athletics and swimming, for which prices can soar up to 990 euros) and those for the opening ceremony (up to nearly 3,000 euros for individuals).

The box office for the Paralympic Games (August 28 to September 8) will open in the fall of 2023, without a draw.

In total, nearly 13.5 million tickets – 10 million for the Olympic Games and 3.5 million for the Paralympic Games – will be on sale.

One week before the closing of registrations for the draw for the first phase (January 31), the Organizing Committee for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop) was pleased to have more than 2.5 million registered people, nearly three quarters of whom are French.

Very little promotion has been done internationally, explained the Cojop at the time, with foreign customers generally showing more interest in the final stages of the competitions, which are much more lucrative for the organizers.

These 2.5 million people will not all be satisfied, even if members of the same family could register under several accounts. With the pack system, it is possible to buy from three to thirty tickets: therefore between 100,000 and 1 million people will be served during this phase.

One million tickets at 24 euros

Will they even take the plunge when they see the price displayed for certain Olympic sessions? Count, for example, up to 690 euros in category A at the Stade de France for athletics qualifications and the 10,000 meter final on August 2; 160 euros for a single men's basketball match in the group phase on July 27 in Lille (that of France or the United States) or even 260 euros for approximately two hours of qualifications in artistic gymnastics, on July 27 and 28 in Lille. 'Accor Arena in Paris-Bercy. The rates for marathon swimming, diving or handball, to name but a few examples, are to match.

Nice sums, especially when the Cojop has been promising for months an "accessible" and "popular" ticket office. The organizers argue that the most expensive seats fund the most affordable seats. They also recall that one million tickets for the Olympic Games (10% of the total) are on sale at 24 euros (500,000 to 15 euros for the Paralympic Games, out of 3.4 million in total) and that half of the tickets not exceed 50 euros (25 euros for the Paralympic Games).

After all, it will cost at least 216 euros to see the XV tricolor in the best places at the next Rugby World Cup, in France, from September 8 to October 28. But "only" 75 euros a day on the Philippe-Chatrier court for the first round of Roland-Garros.

However, if we compare the price list applied for the 2024 Olympic Games to those of previous editions such as Rio 2016 or London 2012 (Tokyo took place almost behind closed doors because of Covid-19), it appears quite clearly that tickets for the Paris Games are in the high range. If the entrance price to London was set at 23 euros, handball or fencing qualifications cost at least half as much for the same category – respectively 57 and 73 euros against 140 and 150 euros.

Inflation-related surcharges

Paris 2024 also claims that all Olympic events will have places at 24 euros, even for the most sought-after disciplines. In this case, it will be seats at the top of the stands of sports arenas that do not offer optimal visibility - but the spectator experience is at this price.

Among these million tickets at 24 euros, half escape the general public because they are reserved by the State and the various local authorities involved in the 2024 Olympic Games for solidarity ticketing (young people under 16, volunteers in sport, people with disabilities, etc.).

With the 500,000 tickets for the Paralympic Games, it is a total volume of one million tickets which will have a social vocation, underlines the Cojop, which announced at the end of January "to have fully financed" 100,000 entries for the most disadvantaged, in partnership with Secours Populaire.

But the organizing committee does not have quite a free hand on the ticket office. The adjustments in the map of the Olympic sites have cost him dearly, it must be made profitable. His ambition for the Olympic and Paralympic opening ceremonies also promises to be onerous. And then, the additional costs linked to inflation have already forced the Cojop to extend its budget by 400 million euros in December.

Paris 2024 is now hoping for 1.24 billion euros (excluding "hospitality", i.e. the sale of tickets coupled with other services) from the ticket office (11.5%) - including 109 million for the Olympic ceremony alone along the Seine – which makes up a third of its total budget, such as the contribution of the International Olympic Committee and sponsorship agreements. The Court of Auditors had expressed reservations in early January on the "certainty" of these recipes. So, there is no question for Paris 2024 of giving up juicy gains that could allow it to balance its budget.