It was announced last week by The International Paralympic Committee that this year’s 2018 Winter Paralympic games broke previous sales records, but the IPC revealed yesterday that more than 25 percent of ticket holders didn’t show up.
The number of tickets sold for sports competitions before Wednesday came out to 184,347, yet only 133,280 people attended the sessions. The 51,067 missing figures accounts for 27.7 percent of tickets sold, which Pyeonchang 2018 spokesman Sung Baik described as “disappointing.” Ticket sales were a big concern for the IPC, since sales in early October of last year were a mere 0.2 percent.
This year’s sales surpassed Sochi’s 316,200 tickets sold in 2014 – setting a record at 331,205 for . The IPC claimed that over the course of the first three days of competition, there was a turn-out rate of 75 percent, but since, there have been a lot of empty seats. Baik said these empty seats – especially during wheelchair curling – could be because the sport is so “time-consuming.”
Additionally, spring-like weather seemed to get in the way; some skiing events were altered by adding man-made snow to avoid melting. The Paralympics have to take place so late in the northern hemisphere winter since they follow the Winter Olympics in February. However, IPC President Andrew Parsons rejects the idea of moving the next Paralympics to before the Bejing 2020 Winter Olympics, claiming “the current model is ideal for us.” He’s not happy about the melting snow, but said, “it’s just the way it is.”
Parsons hopes that Russia will return during the next Paralympics, since the nation was excluded due to doping practices. Although neutral Russian athletes have competed this year, an overall ban was placed on Russia, just like the Winter Olympics.
“I sincerely hope that we will have them back in the Paralympic Family in Tokyo by the summer games of 2020,” Parsons told dpa. “But they will have to take a few more steps. The ball is with them.”
He hopes that next year’s 16th Summer Paralympic Games, set to take place from August 25 to September 26 in Tokyo, will have a better attendance record than in Pyeongchang.
The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympics wrapped up on Sunday.