With the Tokyo Olympics nearly a year away, records are already being broken. Ticket demand is sky-high, and hotel rates are outrageous. It seems the metropolitan area of 35 million, with its safe streets and long-time support for the Olympic Games, is fueling huge demand for the 2020 event. Tokyo is going for gold as the priciest Olympics ever.
“I don’t know if I can afford to go to the Olympics,” says sports agent Brant Feldman. He’s attended seven straight Olympics and represents American and Canadian athletes for AGM (Athletes Global Management) Sports. “It’s going to be the most expensive in history.”
As usual, the home country gets first dibs on tickets—with 70-80% of passes going to residents of Japan. But experts say demand is exceeding supply by at least 10 times.
More than 80% of Japan’s residents who applied for tickets came up empty in the first wave of sales earlier this year. One official ticket reseller says Tokyo is “30 times more popular” than London was in 2012.
Tokyo organizers are also offering packages to the country’s residents. Low-end packages start at about $1,500 for one session at a less-popular event like handball or field hockey. Luxury packages court wealthy executives who treat the Olympics as a place for doing business and schmoozing—with sports as an interesting sideshow. These soar to about $60,000. They’ll include opening and closing ceremonies, nine days of track and field with superior seating, gourmet dining, and celebrity appearances.
Many of the remaining tickets go to sponsors, national Olympic committees, and sports associations. What’s left can be sold to those living outside Japan. Nonresidents must buy from an Authorized Ticket Reseller (ATR) in their various countries. ATRs are reporting record ticket demand. That means “unofficial reselling” will probably flourish—and boost prices even more.
Even if someone snags a ticket, modest hotels near the Olympic venues are charging $1,000-$1,500 per night. Japan’s famous capsule hotels—or sleep pods—will cost more to crawl into as well. Those prices are up to four times the usual cost. (See News Bytes)
Olympic athletes get housing and a few tickets to share for their own events. After that, family and friends are on their own. Feldman laments, “I don’t know how any of those families are going to be able to afford the airline tickets, the Airbnb, the hotels, or get the [event] tickets.”
Says ticketing agent Ken Hanscom, “This is the biggest [Olympic] demand ever—by far.”