PARIS -- As ticket sales for the 2024 Paris Olympics get underway, some online reviewers have begun to raise concerns about what they see as the flaws of a new sales system.
A new ticket draw registration was implemented for these Games, which start in July 2024. Ticket buyers had to enter the draw to access the first two rounds of sales, marking a first for the Olympics. Early buyers are also compelled to buy tickets to more than one event. The first round of sales is underway and the second draw begins on March 15. Single ticket sales opening on May 11.
Some have said that their anger and frustration have been mounting over what they described as a lack of transparency and a lack of affordable options.
In online reviews, the new system has been described as “an absolute shambles” and “a damper.” Others said, “Shame on you” and “that excitement was short-lived."
The Paris committee has a total of 13.5 million tickets to sell, which includes 3.5 million for the Paralympics. Half of all tickets have been priced at 50 euros or less. About 1 million tickets are priced below 24 euros apiece.
“We know that we are going to make people disappointed because you have 4 billion people watching the games, and we have 10 million tickets, so we know that inevitably that there will be people disappointed," 2024 Olympics spokesperson Michael Aloïsio said.
Reviews are mixed, as some events sell out
But sales have been brisk. The organization said that 14 sports had remaining tickets, as of Tuesday afternoon.
“It started extremely strong, and it continues to move every day,” Aloïsio told ABC News.
Stefan Junker, 47, a German fan, told ABC News he was “very happy” he’ll be attending the Games with his wife. He said it felt “a little bit like Christmas” when he got his 24 tickets on Feb. 21.
Self-described super fan Isabelle Zky, who’ll be attending her first Olympics, couldn’t believe her luck.
“I have been a fan of the Olympic Games for 30 years so I only dreamed of being able to attend,” the 46-year-old Parisian said, ecstatically, to ABC News. She said she had a few tickets secured for now.
While there are many happy fans, some regret an overall lack of transparency, mainly about the draw and buying system.
Sacha Lorber, 23, a French national in Australia, said he was proud he managed to buy 30 tickets for himself and his family back in his homeland.
He described his experience as “smooth,” crediting his day-long preparation “to try and understand everything,” but to him, “it always seemed like they were hiding something.”
Lorber said the issues about the buying experience could have been resolved by “providing a simulator” and more transparency, in real time, about the states of the sales in each sport, to avoid having to “hunt for information.” He added that “they campaign the buying process for its inclusivity and openness, hard to see from my perspective.”
Zky said she regretted there was “no national preference” in the beginning. She also criticized the 30-ticket cap per buyer as “a bit excessive.”
The mandatory buying of the same number of tickets in each sport within a pack was an important issue for Aymane Hedaraly, 26, based in Grenoble, and her friends.
Some see prices as discouraging
Some of the people selected in the initial draw said they experienced a different kind of frustration.
“I have the impression that France does not want the inhabitants of its own country, or the fans even of athletics, to go to the stadium to see,” Maëva Beaujour, who was unlucky in the draw, said.
The 25 year-old said she was profoundly disappointment.
“The whole way of doing things, I find that it does not make sense and does not correspond at all to the idea of opening the games wide,” the sprint, 200 and 400m runner states.
“I think that the target is not the inhabitants of France,” she said, adding that €700 for a ticket as “crazy in the midst of inflation.”
Her sentiments were shared by other people ABC News spoke with.
Yorick Spieker, 50, from the town of Kempen northwest of Düsseldorf, said he found the prices “ridiculous” too. “There wasn’t really a budget,” he said, but “I’m not going to spend 2,000 or 3000 euro on four tickets.”
Sélène Agapé, 31, who lives in Seine-Saint-Denis, an area hosting a portion of the games, said she was crushed when she logged on to buy tickets last Tuesday.
“I was disappointed because it looked super accessible the way it was presented, I felt like I was going to have all my chances, but in the end, not at all,” she said.
She said she had a budget equivalent to about $211 to see some athletics, boxing and judo events. “The further you go in the stages, the less accessible it is, the conditions make it less accessible,” she adds.
Hedaraly said she was only offered a minimum of $159 per play-off ticket.
Even with an anticipated budget of $5,299, which she said she’d been saving since 2017, Zky , the super fan, said the Olympic are “very expensive.” She said she found the pricing differences between some categories “a bit harsh.”
The French committee said it was aware some had expressed their disappointment, but considered it par for the course as they have higher demand than the total number of tickets. That point was repeated by 2024 Games President Tony Estanguet, a former athlete, recently as he addressed the controversy on a local radio show.
Despite the controversy, Michael Aloïsio predicted the second sale would sell out before its intended close on March 15.
“It’s a matter of days,” he said.