Dhe Organizing Committee for the 2024 Summer Olympics is getting really busy. A series of tests are scheduled for these weeks to prevent serious mistakes being made in Paris in a year’s time. Sometimes these practice runs take place with athletes and spectators, sometimes without. Above all, the Olympic organizer wants to avoid a similar chaos as there was around the 2022 Champions League final in football in the Stade de France. Back then, hundreds of Liverpool and Madrid fans were attacked and robbed by organized gangs.
But beyond security in public space, there are many areas of conflict that need to be tackled in Paris. On the one hand for sports fans who want to visit the Summer Games between July 26 and August 11, 2024 and need tickets and accommodation. On the other hand, for the organizers and the city administration, who have to regulate the handling of athletes from Russia and Belarus.
It is already foreseeable that Olympic visitors will have to dig deep into their pockets for overnight stays. For example, according to the Airbnb booking site, a prospect is being offered a room for €2117.65 per night during the Summer Olympics. This studio apartment, which is still available, would cost a whopping 42,327.32 euros for the entire period. Such an offer is an indication of the price explosion that the 2.7 million expected tourists will have to deal with.
Bad surprise with athletics tickets
With less than 500 days to go before the festivities, which are expected to draw 12 to 15 million visitors, many are wondering where to stay on a budget. While private individuals in Paris see it as an opportunity to make decent money, others fear that excesses could occur that would overstrain the Olympic spirit.
During the Olympic Games, a total of 130,000 apartments and thus just as many hosts will rent all or part of their property via the Airbnb platform and thus accommodate 560,000 tourists. Airbnb hosts are expected to earn around €2,000 gross (before taxes and other costs) by renting out their accommodation for 10 days during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This means that the revenue per night will be around 200 euros and should increase by an average of 70 percent compared to prices in 2022.
Ticket sales are also always a cause for discussion. The prices and availability of seats at the start of the second sales phase caused just as much concern as in the first phase. In addition, another mishap could enrage the drawn. Many owners of track and field tickets from the second round of sales experienced a nasty surprise after single ticket sales went online.
“We found that there were errors in eight athletics sessions,” confirmed Tony Estanguet, head of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee: “There are more than 760 sessions that are put up for sale in this second phase of ticketing. There was a programming error in those eight athletics sessions as the calendar evolved and we didn’t update it.”
Public transport as another problem
The consequence of this missed update: viewers can have spent up to 980 euros for a ticket for the final at the Stade de France – and then find a completely different program. 3.25 million tickets had found a buyer in the first phase in February and one million of the 1.5 million tickets put up for sale for the second round went away in just under 48 hours. A third and final sales phase for single tickets, this time without a raffle, is planned for the end of 2023.
Another problem is public transport. The trains in Paris are anything but smooth, regardless of whether they are subway or suburban trains. Especially the Ligne B, which goes to the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, where several events will take place in 14 months, gives the organizers a headache. Jean Castex, until recently France’s prime minister and now head of the RATP (Paris Tourist Office), is supposed to fix it.
Last but not least, the possible Olympic participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus triggers controversy. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo spoke out against athletes from both countries starting as allegedly “neutral athletes” “as long as there is war”.
From her point of view, under the prevailing circumstances, it is “inconceivable that we would allow a country that is attacking another country to march up as if nothing had happened. For a delegation to come to Paris while bombs continue to fall on Ukraine is utter nonsense,” Hidalgo added. How does the organizing committee feel about this?
The International Olympic Committee has consistently reaffirmed its willingness to accept athletes from Russia and Belarus: as “individual athletes” and provided they meet a set of criteria designed to guarantee their “neutrality” towards the Moscow and Minsk regimes. French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra is trying to delay the matter. “The recommendations in no way prejudge the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the Summer 2024 Games,” she said. Uncertainty continues to prevail on this explosive topic.