On Tuesday 31 March, the list of confirmed authorised ticket resellers (ATRs) for the 2016 Olympic Games will be published, and some of those resellers will be taking applications the very same day.
Now, I’m somewhat of an expert when it comes to buying Olympic tickets. Having previously attended the Athens games in 2004, I was determined to see as much of London 2012 as possible, especially as it was happening in my own country.
Although 75% of all tickets were put on general sale in the UK, a lot of the most popular sessions were heavily over-subscribed. About 1.8 million people applied for 20 million tickets, yet only 6.6 million tickets were available. Indeed, more than half of those 1.8 million opted for the evening athletics session on 5 August, which included the men's 100m final – not great odds of securing a golden ticket to see Usain Bolt do his thing!
Needless to say, I was one of the applicants without that mens’ 100m final ticket. However, as the UK is a member of the EU, I was also able to purchase tickets through the ATRs of any EU country, with some success! In the end, I attended 32 sessions, including both Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and all nine evenings of athletics. Here’s a photo I took of Usain Bolt doing his lap of honour after his 100m win!
So what can we expect for Rio 2016? Well firstly, I suspect that the list of over-subscribed sports might be different from London.
A recently published article on the Rio 2016 website, suggests that volleyball and football will be among the most wanted tickets, with 27% of those who have registered for tickets, saying they want to watch the volleyball. This differs from London 2012, where athletics, swimming and gymnastics were the three most popular. Also in London, sports such as track cycling and modern pentathlon were the first events to sell out, due to the smaller numbers of tickets available.
Ticket prices for Rio are also very different to London. Indeed, the cost of a top-price ticket to the mens’ 100m final in Rio is the same as that of the mens’ volleyball final. In London the mens’ 100m final ticket was almost four times the cost of the volleyball ticket!
As well as athletics and cycling, some other sports are also much cheaper to attend in Rio than in London due to lower demand, for example swimming, diving and rowing finals are less than half the price of London.
One sport that probably won’t be that popular for Brazilian residents is boxing. Brazil didn’t win any gold medals in London, and ticket prices are significantly lower in Rio. Indeed, the top-price finals tickets cost £395 in London, but will only cost £64 in Rio – less than one sixth of the price!
So if you’re intending to go to Rio, what should your course of action be?
1. Decide which events you’d like to see. My provisional plan is to spend five days in Rio and watch the following sessions:
o 10 August - BV015 (Beach Volleyball on Copacabana Beach)
o 11 August - RO006 (Rowing Finals) and TT016 (Mens’ Table Tennis Final)
o 12 August - RO007 (Rowing Finals) and CT002 (Track Cycling Finals)
o 13 August - AT004 (Athletics Finals)
o 14 August - AT005 (Athletics Finals, including Mens’ 100m)
2. Decide how much you’re willing to pay for tickets. There are up to four different price categories for each sporting session, and five for the Opening and Closing Ceremony. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the ATRs can legally mark-up the listed domestic prices by up to 20%.
3. Find out who your ATR is. If you’re a Brazilian resident, you can buy directly through the Rio2016.com website, but everyone else will need to buy through your own country’s ATR.
Some of the bigger ATRs are likely to be covering multiple countries, for example CoSport will be selling tickets in Canada, USA and Australia; while Kingdom will be selling tickets in over 30 African and Asian countries.
4. However, as I mentioned earlier, if you live in the European Union, you should be able to purchase through any of the ATRs for the 32 countries in the EU’s single market.
This is where your chance of ticket success dramatically increases, as most EU residents will only buy from their own country’s ATR, whereas you now know you can apply to each of the 32 ATRs. (I got the majority of my London 2012 tickets from non-UK ATRs).
Another positive for European residents, is that demand should be lower than for London 2012 due to the longer distance to travel.
5. Some ATRs are likely to operate a ballot system, while others might sell tickets on a first-come-first-served basis.
So check your ATR’s website early on 31 March and put your order in as soon as you can.
6. Good luck, and see you on the beach in Rio!