Ticket Sales for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, scheduled for February, are worrying the Games’ organisers.
Two weeks ago the Pyeongchang organizing committee had reported that only 61% of all tickets have been sold. That’s 655,000 out of 1.07 million total tickets. Even for the popular sports like figure skating and ice hockey not more than 60% tickets are sold, according to a CNBC report.
The decline in ticket sales is partially attributed to the mounting tension in the Korean peninsula. Though the tensions have subsided to some extent after North Korea decide to re-open the inter-Korean communication hotline with South Korea for the first time since suspending it in February 2016. To further help the situation, The US-South Korea joint military exercise have also been postponed until after the games end.
However, sports experts are citing the decline in the quality of the games and the athletes to be the main cause for poor spectator interest. The ice hockey event will reportedly not showcase many of its best athletes after NHL has decided not to send its players to Pyeongchang. Collegiate hockey players don’t have enough charm, popularity, and skills to draw spectators.
The ban on Russian athletes has also impacted the competition level adversely. The Russian Olympic contingent was banned by International Olympic Committee last year after the allegations of State-sponsored doping activities with many of the Russian athletes failing dope tests. Russian athletes presence would have significantly lifted the competition level and ticket sales.
The Winter Games venue too has not been a popular tourist destination. Pyeongchang does not stand in terms of tourism appeal of the hosts cities of the previous editions of the Winter Games such as Vancouver and Turin.
Pyeongchang has won the bid to host the event this time after having lost in the past two bids from Vancouver and Sochi.
However, with the North and South Korean initiating talks to defuse tension in the region will give the Pyeongchang organisers some hope for better crowd turnout.