Paris Olympics fans call ticket pack ‘a racket’ amid rocky start to sales

© Francois Mori, AP

Organizers of next year's Paris Olympics 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.

As the month-long opening round of sales winds down, however, many “lucky” winners chosen to shop for the first 3 million tickets (out of 10 million total) are feeling frustrated, angry and cheated because their only option during the 48-hour purchasing window was paying at least 200 euros ($212) per ticket for the few remaining events on offer. And because the ticketing system requires buying packages for multiple sports, overall costs for many buyers ran into thousands of dollars.

By the time English teacher Amélie Beney and her 9-year-old son won the lottery last week to log in to the Olympic ticket office, affordable tickets for many events were gone, and all but one of their preferred sports — BMX, water polo and soccer — was sold out.

There were tickets for a soccer match at 50 euros ($53) but Beney would also have to buy at least two tickets for two additional events. Available tickets included basketball or handball at 150 euros ($160), swimming at 230 euros ($244) and a whopping 690 euros ($732) for a qualifying event in track and field.

“Who can afford tickets at that price?" Beney asked. "I can’t.”

Beney was disappointed and said her son’s enthusiasm for attending their home Olympics on his 10th birthday vanished as they logged off without buying anything.

Ticket sales are a substantial part of revenue — one third, according to Aloisio — that Paris organizers need to pay for the Olympics.


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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