The participants looked exactly like most runners. Except for one tiny fact. The men were running at a pace that was under five minutes per mile and the women were only slightly slower. And they were going to maintain those paces for the entire distance. Feats I can’t begin to understand.
I later talked to my son who happens to live in Paris where the Olympics will be held. During the course of the conversation, he mentioned that tickets for the opening ceremony were running about 1500 Euros. Since one Euro is approximately $1.07, this means about $1611.
I was shocked, and my disgust about money in sports that I’ve mentioned in a previous post kicked in. I decided I’d write a blistering rant about how the Olympic games care only about the athletes and the disgustingly rich.
Until I did a little research.
It turns out that France has offered half of the 10 million tickets for $50 or less, some as low as $24. (Here and throughout the following, because Euros and dollars are so close in value, I’m expressing money in terms of dollars, even when the value is given in Euros which, as we’ve seen, is a bit higher.)
So that’s not too bad. At the lower end it’s not much more than a movie and a bag of popcorn, and at the high end it’s a heck of a lot less than a Rolling Stones concert.
Apparently, the plan involved offering some higher priced tickets, probably with better seats, in order to be able to provide the lower priced ones, a noble goal.
And, after all, the cost of the venues has to be covered.
So not too bad. Say you attend one event per day for a full week. Remember your ticket gets you into only one of them. If all of your tickets are on the low end, you will pay between $168 and $350. Could be worse. After all, it is the Olympics!
Of course, it would help if you lived in Paris or nearby. For others there is the cost of travel, no small concern. Once finally in Paris there is the problem of a place to stay. Hotel prices have doubled or tripled during the fortnight of competition. Many homes suddenly have been listed for the first time on Airbnb with average charges of $540 per night.
The low cost tickets don’t get you into everything. Prices reasonably are higher for finals and popular events like swimming. And remember that $1500 cost for the opening ceremony? I found one reference to a charge of $3,000! The closing ceremony also will be pricey, but less so. And as the time gets near one can only expect prices to rise.
One study looked at the cost of an American attending the Olympics for one week, including travel, living arrangements, event tickets, and miscellaneous costs like Metro and food. It came to $6,412—per person!
From what I’ve learned, and I make no claims about accuracy, the rant I expected to deliver about the Olympics being exclusively for the athletes and the rich only partially holds.
So what’s the best option for us average Joes and Janes?
Plunk yourself down in front of the TV.
That’s virtually free—once you’ve paid the cable bill.