The 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games are less than one year off, and officials in host city Paris have high hopes for what is being billed as the first Olympics of the post-pandemic era.
That said, ticket sales got off to a rocky start this spring, with prices as high as 2,700 euros (or $2,900) for the Opening Ceremony, according to ESPN.com, which added that sports with the priciest tickets were swimming, track and field, and basketball. A total of 5.2 million tickets were sold to the general public across the first two sales phases, with 1.6 million going to corporate partners and others. The third phase of ticket sales opened July 5 and focuses on events taking place in areas outside of Paris. A total of about 10 million total tickets have been made available.
The pricing drew criticism, the Associated Press reports, because “[o]rganizers … promised relatively modest prices and egalitarian access to events, thanks to an online system meant to revolutionize ticket sales and bring the masses to stadiums and arenas for as little as $26. … However, those tickets were scooped up during the first few days of the lottery, leaving those ‘lucky’ to be drawn later with high prices and few events to choose from.”
It's worth noting here that the slogan for both the Summer Olympics and Paralympics is “Games Wide Open.”
“We know that people are going to be disappointed, and we know that we don’t have tickets for everybody,” Michael Aloisio, the deputy general manager of the Paris Olympics, told the AP.
The Paris Games run from July 26-Aug. 11, 2024, and will feature 32 sports and 48 disciplines across 37 sites. Next, the Paralympic Games will take place in Paris from Aug. 28-Sept. 8 and feature 22 sports; ticket sales begin in October.
Organizers of the Paralympics hope to sell all 2.8 million tickets before the action even begins in an effort to top the attendance record set in London in 2012. Prices begin at 15 euros (or about $16).
“The ambition is to sell each and every ticket … and then this will make Paris the number one in terms of ticket sales. London 2012 was 2.7 million,” International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons told Reuters in August.
New Sports, Hotels at Summer Games
“The IOC is keen to set a new standard for inclusive, gender-balanced and youth-centered games,” according to the Paris 2024 website. “Paris 2024 submitted its proposal to the IOC to integrate four new sports that are closely associated with youth and reward creativity and athletic performance. … All four are easy to take up, and participants form communities that are very active on social media. Over the next five years, the inclusion of these events in the Olympic Games will help inspire millions of children to take up the sport[s].”
Two of those new sports — breakdancing and skateboarding — will take place at the Place de la Concorde, where both Louis and Marie Antoinette were beheaded. Field hockey venue Colombes Stadium, meanwhile, hosted track and field and other sports at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Stade de France, which hosted the 1998 FIFA World Cup, will be home to the Games’ track and field events, rugby sevens and Closing Ceremony.
The Opening Ceremony, the AP reports, will feature “thousands of athletes … carried on fleets of boats along the Seine River toward the city’s defining landmark” — the Eiffel Tower.
The AP also notes that the 160,000 hotel rooms in Paris comprise one-quarter of the entire country’s 640,000 rooms. “Nearly 90% of Paris region hotels are classed two stars or above. Adding rented accommodation, campsites and other options, the Paris tourism office says the region has a total of 261,800 rooms for the Olympics, which is considerably more than it had in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the AP. “Some Parisians are hoping to make a mint by renting out their homes. On Airbnb, many hundreds of dollars per night are being asked for apartments. In the 11th district of Paris, a one-bedroom apartment with two beds that was asking for 99 euros ($110) per night for four people this summer from July 26 to Aug. 2 is asking 877 euros ($972) per night for the same period during the Olympics.”