Sluggish ticket sales are of major concern for Olympic organisers ahead of PyeongChang 2018.
PyeongChang 2018 is set to begin in less than 5 months, but tickets to the event are proving a hard sell. Only 22.7% of a total 1.18 million tickets were bought during the first phase of sales—a figure that includes the purchase of tickets by authorised resellers.
Domestic sales have been particularly underwhelming. Olympic organisers had initially hoped that 70% of tickets would be snapped up by locals. As of last month, however, only 52,000 tickets had been sold domestically—well short of the 750,000 target.
On September 5, online sales were reopened to the general public on a first-come-first-served basis. However, an increasingly tense political situation is threatening to further disrupt ticket sales, with suggestions that a Korean Olympics might not happen at all.
South Korea’s volatile neighbour is of major concern to athletes and fans alike, particularly given that PyeongChang is within 100 km of the North Korean border. Olympic boycotts may be on the horizon if the political situation continues to deteriorate.
Just three months ago, President Moon Jae-in proposed to include the North in Olympic hosting duties. This now looks inconceivable; however, the IOC has left the door open for North Korean athletes to compete.
The IOC has largely played down concerns that the games are in jeopardy, maintaining that an Olympic truce will ensure the safety of athletes and fans alike. Lee Hee-beom, president of Pyeongchang’s organising committee, has echoed this sentiment.
“There’s no plan B, as the Olympics are based on an Olympic truce,” said Lee.