7 Most Expensive Olympic Event Tickets
The stage is set for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. After being postponed for a full year, the world’s largest sporting event is finally coming into fruition but with significant changes, particularly banning foreign spectators from entering the country to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. But despite the sporting event being only limited to locals, ticket prices are still forecasted to set back audiences to hundreds of dollars. This shouldn’t be a price to anyone as the total cost of the Olympics have never been affordable. Here are the seven most expensive Olympic event tickets ever:
1. Swimming (London 2012) - $190
Together with track and field events, ticket prices for swimming events have always been the priciest. This is mostly attributed to the level of competition that is seen with the sport as well as the excitement it brings as numerous athletes aim to grab the coveted gold medal. The sport has also produced some of the greatest athletes that ever lived, including Michael Phelps, Jenny Thompson, Mark Spitz, and Gary Hall, among many others.
During the 2012 London Olympics, average cost of swimming events (preliminary rounds and gold medal games) cost £200 or $190, one of the highest of all events during the said games. Prices also cost 3x than tickets for Badminton events (£60), although many would believe that the prices were completely justified as London 2012 became the platform where Phelps continued to exert his dominance in the sport. The celebrated Olympian won four gold medals in the six events he participated in, including the 100m butterfly and the 4x200m freestyle events.
2. Men’s Basketball (London 2012) - $370
Ever since the U.S. assembled the “Dream Team” in 1992 which featured NBA legends such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, NBA players have since represented the U.S. men’s basketball team in each Olympic games. But after a humbling experience in 2004 where the team only finished 3rd, the NBA assembled its best talents for the 2008 Beijing Olympics with the team eventually steamrolling through each competition en route to an impressive gold medal victory. The 2008 squad would be dubbed as the “Redeem Team” with most of the players returning four years for another shot at gold.
Naturally, seeing superstars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony would not be cheap and the cost for the 2012 men’s basketball final featuring the United States and Spain set back fans £260 ($370). The Redeem Team 2.0 would beat Spain in a thrilling final, giving fans some great value for the huge amount they spent on a single ticket.
3. Swimming (Rio 2016) - $380
Unlike the Olympic games in London, Rio 2016 was not as expensive. Average ticket prices were set at R$70 ($30) with the cheapest ticket costing R$40 ($20). But despite these somewhat affordable prices, swimming events were still priced the highest: R$ 2,100 ($380). Although the opening and closing ceremonies were priced higher, swimming was still listed as the priciest sporting event particularly for the gold medal games. Much like the 2012 London Olympics, fans didn’t mind spending big as Rio 2016 marked the final time Michael Phelps participated in any Olympic event. And he did not disappoint, winning five gold medals which extended his total gold medal tally to 23, the most of any Olympic swimmer in history.
4. Women's Soccer (London 2012) - $620
The 2012 London Olympics was eventful in many ways, particularly superstar athletes representing their respective countries. Soccer was no different as the world’s best players in both the men’s and women’s sides participated in a 16-country winner-take-it-all tournament to achieve Olympic glory. Although failing in comparison to the FIFA World Cup, the Olympic soccer games have never failed to bring excitement to fans over the years.
In particular, the gold medal matches in both the men’s and women’s tournaments lived up to the billing and the majority are even in agreement that both matches are some of the best in Olympic history. The men’s side saw Mexico upset overwhelming favorites Brazil 2-1 while the women’s side saw the United States edge out Japan 2-1. Both games were played in the iconic Wembley Stadium with the most expensive ticket costing £450 ($620).
5. Track and Field (London 2012) - $1,000
Even though track and field events have always been some of the most attended events during the Olympic games, their popularity rose even further after Usain Bolt entered the scene in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After winning two gold medals in Beijing, he entered London 2012 as a favorite to win most of his events. He didn’t just win, but he dominated every category he participated in (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay), finishing the tournament with three gold medals. Today, the Jamaican-born sprinter holds the world record for men’s 100m and 200m sprints as well as the 4x100m together with Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, and Yohan Blake.
6. Track and Field (Tokyo 2021) - $1,400
Even before the delay, Tokyo 2021 has been shaping up to be the most expensive Olympic games ever. Unsurprisingly, track and field events don’t just get first-class treatment when it comes to facilities but also in ticket prices. Track and field events will be the most expensive in the upcoming Olympic games, with the best seats in the stadium costing each person a whopping ¥152,000 ($1,400). Although Bolt will no longer be participating after announcing his retirement in 2017, other athletes will look to step up in his absence including Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles as well Jamaican rising stars Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.
7. Tokyo 2021 Opening Ceremony - $2,700
Although it’s not an actual sporting event, the opening ceremonies have always been an integral part of the Olympic games. It is where all of the athletes from hundreds of participating countries are introduced and it’s also the occasion where the Olympic flames are lit. It has been reported that the Tokyo Summer Olympics will be limited to local sports fans and tourists but the prices for opening ceremony tickets have been unchanged so far. A price tag of ¥295,000 ($2,700) has been announced for those looking to purchase official Tokyo Olympics 2021 tickets in which the event will be held at the newly renovated Olympic Stadium in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo.
With the entire sporting event initially projected to cost around $12.6 billion, total costs are now set to total $15.4 billion after the games were postponed from its original 2020 schedule. The local Olympic committee recently announced that it had spent an additional $2.8 billion to cover for contracts and other changes that were affected by the pandemic.
Although millions of people won’t be personally cheering for their home countries in Summer Olympics 2021, the sporting event is still expected to commence and finish on its new social-distanced schedule. The focus will not just be on the games but on the expensive ticket prices as well, and if reports are any indication Tokyo will be the most expensive Olympics (Winter Olympics included) ever once it’s all said and done.