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!

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