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Paris Olympics organizers say 6.8 million tickets have been sold so far, defending price

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Organizers of the Paris Olympics said they have sold 6.8 million tickets out of 10 million available 14 months before the opening ceremony and on Tuesday dismissed criticism that the prices were too high.

Organizing committee chairman Tony Estanguet said the second ticketing phase, which ended last week, had exceeded expectations despite some fans – and athletes – complaining about exorbitant prices.

The most expensive tickets for the opening ceremony are 2,700 euros ($2,900), and the highest priced sports are the athletics, swimming and basketball finals. The cheapest ticket cost 24 euros ($26) and was quickly sold out, leaving only 200,000 low-cost seats in the later rounds, to the frustration of many buyers.

A key goal was to keep the bulk of tickets affordable, Estanguet said, with 5.3 percent of tickets priced at 400 euros each guaranteeing that four million seats could be bought for 50 euros or less.

“There is a huge appetite among the public, French and international,” Estanguet said. “This is a significant success in terms of sales. Rather it is good news for the Paris 2024 Games.”

A total of 5.2 million tickets have been sold to the general public in the first two phases – with 1.6 million going to corporate partners and others.

During the second phase alone – for individual ticket sales and in which four million people registered for the draw – a total of 1.89 million tickets were sold in 178 countries. Sixty-eight percent of them went for 100 euros or less.

“Our goal was to sell 1.5 million tickets and we were more successful than expected,” Estenguet said.

He said some 610,000 seats were sold for 24 euros. More non-lottery tickets will be put on the market this summer, and a resale platform is set to open in 2024.

“There are very cheap tickets in terms of quantity and price that have been put up for sale and bought,” Estenguet said.

More than 3.25 million tickets were sold in the first phase earlier this year, which included packages for multiple games.

Organizers did not give details by country, but said the biggest sales during the second phase were in France, followed by Britain, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.

Soccer was the top seller, ahead of basketball and handball. Organizers said tickets for the triathlon, sport climbing, BMX racing, BMX freestyle and breaking all sold out in less than two hours.

The budget for the Paris Olympics has been estimated at 4.4 billion euros. Estenguet said organizers aim to generate 1.2 billion euros through ticket sales.

The Paris Games, which run from July 26-Aug. 11, 2024, will feature 32 sports and 48 disciplines across 37 sites. After this the Paralympic Games will be held from 28 August to September. 8, with ticket sales starting in autumn 2023.

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