Tuesday, February 21, 2023

How I got Tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Paris 2024 Olympic Games pictograms
Paris 2024 Olympic Games pictograms

This was my first-ever attempt to buy tickets to an Olympic Games, and actually getting them felt 90% due to luck. These steps may not be an option if you did not complete step one, but hopefully, they provide some tips for those still awaiting their ticket window to open.

Though you are given 48 hours to create and purchase your packs, I struggled to select my desired events within the first 35 minutes of my time slot. Here are my recommendations for optimizing your time and increasing the likelihood of obtaining tickets:

1. Sign-up for the draw
This step is the gateway to purchasing Make Your Games packs for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, so if you didn't do that by the end of January 2023, you're out of luck for this round of ticketing, but you have another chance to try for the single-ticket lottery starting March 15th.

2. Be selected in the ticketing lottery
This step is entirely out of your control. If selected, you will receive an email a couple of days before your timeslot to purchase tickets.
Lottery success notification email

3. Set your alarm
The timeslot posted in the notification email will likely not be in your time zone, so be prepared to make that conversion. My particular timeslot opened at 7:00am (mountain time) on Monday the 20th. I set my alarm for 6:30am to ensure I was awake, my computer was started, and I had my lists and links in order. If your slot is later in the day an alarm will be a helpful reminder to log in on time.

4. Prepare a prioritized list of available events
Not all events have tickets available for purchase during the Make Your Games packs phase, so double-check your options. Tickets to the Opening Ceremonies and many of the medal events will be available in the single-ticket sale later this spring. If you want tickets to a specific event within a sport, good luck to you. The more popular the sport - such as swimming and artistic gymnastics - the quicker the tickets sell. Some events are also more expensive than others due to anticipated demand and if medals will be awarded.

5. Give yourself a head start
Before your timeslot, open the email with your "Access my timeslot" link. Next, you can expedite the process by clicking the provided link, entering your email on the login page, then typing in your password in the next window and waiting to submit until the exact moment your timeslot is scheduled to open.

6. Select your first event
The first event added to your pack can determine what will be available for the remaining two events in your Games pack. I made the mistake of not double-checking that I selected the correct number of tickets, and it cost me precious time (and probably money). You must purchase the same number of tickets for each of the three events in your pack so if you need a mixed number of tickets, be organized about what goes in each pack.

For example:
I wanted four tickets (12 total) to the Eventing - Cross-Country, Grand Prix Dressage qualifier, and Show Jumping Team qualifier (i.e. horse events, for the uninitiated). I also wanted two tickets to watch Swimming, Shooting, and Athletics (six total). In a perfect world, these groupings would have been two separate packs of tickets. Since things didn't go exactly to plan, I ended up buying two packs with four tickets (12 total per pack) to a mix-and-match of events, some of which weren't my preferences.

7. Make sure that your purchase is completed
You must complete the purchase of each pack within a specific timeframe (I think it's 15-20 minutes), so keep an eye on the clock.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Here We Come!

2024 Paris Olympic Games pictographs
Paris 2024 Olympic Games pictographs

I was able to purchase tickets to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris via the lottery system. Tickets went super fast, but the ticketing system was good. I'm not sure how many options - especially affordable ones - will be available for folks in future lottery timeslots, but there may still be luck for those selected for the single-ticket sale later.

The ticketing system for Paris 2024 is a new format for the Olympic Games. It is similar to the lottery system that is used to book campsites for some popular hiking trails in the United States (such as the Wonderland Trail in Washington State). Tickets are released over multiple rounds beginning with the Make Your Games packs, then later in the single-ticket sale, both of which can only be accessed through a lottery system. I signed up for the lottery in December 2022 without expecting my name to be drawn from the million(s?) of other entries. Frankly, I had written off my chances of ticket access until I received the notification email of my success two days before my assigned time slot.

I had a feeling that tickets would go quickly, so I coordinated with my spouse and group of friends to determine our plan:

  • Which events did we most want to attend?
  • What would our budget be for event tickets?
  • Would we still want to make the trip if we could only get tickets to one of our desired events?
  • Would we be willing to spend more on one event if we couldn't get tickets to two or three?
  • How many days could everyone expect to get off of work?
After gathering all those answers in our group chat I compiled a Google Doc to help keep everything organized. I found it helpful to pre-make a master list of events we were interested in attending during the window of time that we hoped to be in Paris, though it was ultimately thrown out the window on ticketing day.

6:30 am arrived, and I set up my laptop on the dining room table, opening various tabs associated with the ticketing FAQ and event schedule. And at 7:00 am sharp on Monday morning, my timeslot opened. My priorities were the Equestrian Eventing - Cross-Country, Grand Prix Dressage, and Equestrian Team Show Jumping. I initially selected the Eventing tickets, not realizing that I didn't add enough seats, so I discarded them. They were no longer presented as an option once they were removed from my cart (maybe this is a bug in the system?). So I moved onto the Dressage, and only the most expensive seats remained, but I determined that was my group's best course of action. By then there were already no seats available for the Show Jumping event. It was only 7:05 am. Ticket purchasers are given a set amount of time (15-20 minutes) to complete the purchase of the Games pack, so I was running out of both time and event options to round out my Games pack. I knew that my spouse planned to arrive near the end of the Equestrian events, so I turned to events from his list (Swimming, Shooting, and Athletics). For some reason, few to none of these showed as being available, so I instead selected Rowing (which I'll go to with my friends) and Canoe Sprint because there were inexpensive (€24) seats available and fit around the Dressage day. It was 7:22 am when I purchased this first Make Your Games pack. At this time, I also remembered that I had to buy the same number of seats for each of the three events in a Games pack, and I knew that my friend group would not be staying long enough to watch the Canoe Sprint.

As I returned the system to create my second Games pack, I saw that the Eventing - Cross-Country tickets were available again, so I swooped them back into my cart. This put me in an interesting situation where I would again have to purchase four tickets for each event in the Games pack. My friends preferred to go sightseeing rather than attend other sports, so that would leave my spouse and me with two extra tickets for another two events. The clock was ticking, and only the more expensive tickets remained for the other events on my wish list, so I filtered my search for those in the €24 category. Both Archery and Hockey had availability that worked with my timeframe, so those rounded out the remainder of my Games pack. After confirming with my bank that I was making these purchases - and not a credit card thief - the Games pack was purchased by 7:35 am.

Now I had two spare tickets to at least three events: Canoe Sprint, Archery, and Hockey. On Saturday, I  mentioned to my mom and stepdad that I had been drawn for the ticket lottery, and they sounded excited for me. They have also been talking about visiting France, so this seemed the perfect opportunity to motivate their trip and utilize my extra tickets. It was a relief to have everything click into place.

What is still unclear to me is whether or not the tickets are metered out over several lottery timeslots, or if folks with later slots will be left trying to get tickets in the single-ticket lottery. The number of folks drawn for each lottery timeslot. I am glad that I logged in right as my timeslot opened otherwise I would not have been able to purchase tickets for the events that would make it worth the trip. Hopefully, other folks will succeed via the single-ticket sale or other avenues. Just be sure to only purchase tickets through the main Paris 2024 website, as no tickets sold elsewhere will be valid.

Check back for more of my experience on the road to Paris 2024!