With the Tokyo Olympics set to kick off, the International Olympic Committee is sounding the alarm for its next major event, the Beijing winter Olympics in 2022. The decision to not allow spectators – first from across the globe, and then from within Japan itself – due to coronavirus risk, has organizers concerned of the possible financial catastrophe that could befall the games if they can’t bring in paid crowds for a second straight event.
“We would like to have the international community there,” says Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. of the IOC coordination commission, in charge of prepations for Beijing. “We need a very successful games next year in Beijing. We really need that success for the sake of everybody… for keeping that light of hope really bright and open.”
Beyond the light of hope, it’s likely that there is a strong financial need for spectators. Tokyo 2020 saw its finances battered repeatedly, first with the initial delay from 2020 due to COVID, and then with the ultimate failure to allow fans for fear of the virus continuing to spread in areas with low levels of vaccination. Estimates are that organizers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in ticketing revenue from the decision, straining the finances of the event and likely its parent organization.
“We need and want to have spectators,” Samaranch said. “We want to have the opportunity for everybody to enjoy the hospitality and enjoy the great Chinese offers.”
Due to lingering COVID concerns, tickets have not yet gone on sale for the games in Beijing, which are now less than 200 days away. Contrast that with Tokyo 2020, which had its online ticket lottery open more than a year prior to the originally scheduled opening of the games in May of 2019. Ticket prices for events had been determined and disclosed all the way back in the summer of 2018.
A timeline for the Beijing 2022 ticket sales has not yet been announced, though ticket prices reportedly will range from $118-787 per seat for the opening and closing ceremonies, with individual events ranging in price from $8 all the way to $236 per ticket. Alibaba will handle ticketing, which will reportedly be exclusively digital and include the ability to both purchase and transfer tickets through their system.