A group of American tourists walk toward their pods after checking in at 9H capsule hotel in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. Photo: AP/Jae C Hong
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Want Tokyo Olympic tickets? No problem if you have ¥6.35 mil

24 Comments
By STEPHEN WADE

Having trouble getting tickets for next year's Tokyo Olympics?

That's no problem if you have 6.35 million yen to spare.

Tokyo Olympic organizers are offering high-end hospitality packages to Japan residents with prices soaring to 6.35 million yen - about $60,000. This is good for the opening and closing ceremony, nine days of track and field with luxury seating and sumptuous dining. Low-end packages dip down to about $1,500 for one session at a less popular event.

Tokyo is shaping up as a very pricey Olympics.

Ticket demand is unprecedented, so unofficial re-selling likely will flourish. Hotel rates are soaring. And getting here will be costly, particularly for people traveling from the Americas and Europe.

"I don't know if I can afford to go to the Olympics," Brant Feldman, a Los Angeles-based sports agent, told The Associated Press. He's attended seven straight Olympics and represents American and Canadian athletes for AGM Sports. "For the average family right now to head to the Olympics, it's going to be the most expensive in history."

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A restaurant employee sets up a table in a restaurant overlooking Tokyo's skyline. Photo: AP/Jae C Hong

Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics say the luxurious hospitality packages are an "opportunity for family, friends and business contacts" to enjoy the games. In the words of organizers, here's what's included with the tickets:

  • specially selected Champagne, sake and beers

  • gourmet dining menu prepared by top international chefs

  • fine wines chosen by our sommelier

  • elegant commemorative souvenir VIP access pass

  • first-class personal service capable of dealing with any request

  • event host and celebrity guests appearances.

Hospitality packages, of course, are aimed at the wealthy, targeting executives who treat the Olympics as a venue for doing business and schmoozing with sports as an alluring sideshow.

There's also an old-fashioned way for residents of Japan to get scarce tickets: a so-called "second-chance" lottery that closed Monday. Results will be announced next month, and another lottery for Japan residents will be held in the fall.

For now, those living outside Japan must go through Authorized Ticket Resellers , which are deluged with unprecedented demand. They also offer high-end packages and are allowed to tack on a 20% service charge to each ticket. And many of the best tickets are tied to expensive hotels.

A random search of well-known hotel booking sites by AP found prices for most 3-4-star hotels between $1,000-1,500 per night with few available. There have been complaints that many hotels are canceling previous reservations to secure the markup.

Even Japan's famous capsule hotels - or sleep pods - will cost more to crawl inside with prices up three or four times on booking sites.

In a statement to AP, Tokyo organizers said they are working with "the government and the accommodation industry and travel industry in order to control prices."

Quoting a government report, organizers say there are 300,000 rooms "in different classes" in Tokyo and in neighboring prefectures.

Olympic athletes are guaranteed housing and have access to a few tickets for event sessions in which they participate. After that, family and friends are on their own.

"If your son or daughter qualifies for the Olympics in 2020, I don't know how any of those families are going to be able to afford the airline tickets, the Airbnb, the hotels, or get the tickets," Feldman said.

Those planning to wait until the last minute to book rooms, which sometimes become available because organizers typically overestimate the number of rooms needed and the number of foreign visitors, could miss out.

It may not happen this time.

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Tourists dine under a mist sprayer in Tokyo. Photo: AP/Jae C Hong

Tokyo's demand is driven partly by a giant metropolitan area of 35 million, its safe streets, and long-time support for the Olympics.

Australia-based Kingdom Sports Group, an official reseller that deals primarily with Asia and Africa, said on a social media site that Tokyo is "30 times more popular" than London was in 2012. London is often seen as the benchmark for Olympic interest.

Ken Hanscom, a ticketing expert who runs Los Angeles-based TicketManager, told AP "this is the biggest (Olympic) demand ever - by far."

The big winner could be the Paralympics, which open a few weeks after the Olympics close on Aug. 9, 2020. The lottery in Japan for the Paralympics started on Thursday with 2.3 million tickets available.

Just over 80% of Japan residents who applied got nothing in the first Olympic ticket lottery earlier this year. Of those who landed tickets in June, many got far fewer than they expected.

Organizers say 3.22 million tickets were sold in the first phase. Demand appears to exceed supply by at least 10 times. Another 680,000 tickets are available in this lottery, but only for those who were shut out the first time.

Tokyo organizers say there are 7.8 million tickets for the Olympics. They estimate between 70-80% will go to the general public in Japan. The difference between the larger and smaller percentage is 780,000 tickets, giving organizers flexibility in how tickets are distributed.

The remaining tickets are sold abroad, or go to sponsors, national Olympic committees, and sports federations.

Organizers hope to earn $800 million from ticket sales, a big chuck of income for the privately funded, $5.6 billion operating budget.

A report released last year by the national government's Board of Audit said Japan is likely to spend $25 billion overall to prepare the games. This is public money, except for the operating budget. Organizers dispute the figure and say it's about $12 billion, though what are Olympics costs - and what are not - is subject to heated debate.

Tokyo projected total costs of about $7.5 billion in its winning bid for the games in 2013.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


24 Comments
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I think i’d actually prefer to intentionally avoid the Tokyo area of Japan during the summer olympics. It’s crammed enough even without the millions of tourists that are going to be staying there.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

They made scalping the tickets at inflated prices illegal. However, it seems the Olympic comity are doing just fine without third party scalpers.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Glad to be in Osaka. I doubt I’d even pop on a bullet train to go to Tokyo for ur average Olympic event.

The crowds and lines and just general moving like sludge in a sea of lost peeps is very unappealing.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

pay tons of money so you can:

suffer in crowded trains with sweaty people

suffer in the heat in crowded venues

have a bad view of the event

or you can:

watch at home for free and avoid the crowds and save tons of money

tough choice....

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Manga cafes are cheap and comfortable to sleep at. Plus during the summer, sleeping outdoors is not bad either. It is safe and basically quiet. Toilets are readily available, and showers are easy as well.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

...nine days of track and field with luxury seating 

Is luxury seating air conditioned? If not, then wouldn't pay a yen.

Gotta go with the other posters here, watch it from somewhere cool and don't be a fool.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Wow, that capsule hotel looks nice.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Glad to be in Osaka.

Yes, Osaka is lovely in summer.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why is everyone here so negative. Tokyo 2020 will be the best Olympics ever. YES its expensive, but thats supply and demand and sign of a robust economy. If Japanese residents did not have this money, they wouldnt be able to charge big money.

To get a ticket for mens 4 x 100 relay final, with Kiryu-chan anchoring Japan to hopefully win the Gold, will be priceless! Tokyo 2020 will be a lifetime of memories for generations.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

pay tons of money so you can:

suffer in crowded trains with sweaty people

suffer in the heat in crowded venues

> have a bad view of the event

or you can:

watch at home for free and avoid the crowds and save tons of money

tough choice....

you,re talking from a foreigner pov. for Japanese this is special, just like Tokyo 64 was. i mean, even for foreigners, to be able to say "i was there", that,s something.

this is not your regular football game where you can skip and watch at home and then next weekend there,s another one.

but yeah, i,m not particularly excited about that "crowded trains with sweaty people" part.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This is not what the Olympics is about, is it?

Disgusting!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

A little more tickets may be available at entrances if thousands of Korean visitors boycott Tokyo Olympics, but Korean athletes would come to the Olympics. Most might already have burned their tickets they already bought. I really want to buy one at entrance if possible.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

To get a ticket for mens 4 x 100 relay final, with Kiryu-chan anchoring Japan to hopefully win the Gold, will be priceless! Tokyo 2020 will be a lifetime of memories for generations.

The only way Japan wins a gold medal in relays is if the US or Jamaica are DQ'd.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

i forgot to use the quotes in previous comment. My bad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What?! No cubic suika in the package??? I'll pass the offer then...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

to be able to say "i was there", that,s something

for 6 million yen? no thanks, I'll keep my money and just tell people I was in Japan

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am no business major or economics expert but I remembered years ago after the Rakuten Eagles won the Japan Series in baseball. After that, Rakuten's website had a large sale by stores selling on there. There was a huge hoopla over some stores hiking their prices then giving a discount to make it look like customers were getting a big discount but they really weren't. So stores and tickets aren't allowed to sell at higher prices but hotels are fine to charge extremely higher prices. What is the difference?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"For the average family right now to head to the Olympics, it's going to be the most expensive in history."

Honestly, what were they expecting in Japan?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

 If Japanese residents did not have this money, they wouldnt be able to charge big money.

Such a silly statement. Most of Japanese do not even earn 6.35 million yen a whole year, so those tickets are obviously not aimed to be sold to residents but rather to wealthy people coming from abroad to see the Olympics.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Now you know why you cannot get a ticket. It is a disgrace. And $12B of public money.

To get a ticket for mens 4 x 100 relay final, with Kiryu-chan anchoring Japan to hopefully win the Gold, will be priceless! 

You will only see the back of Team GB's 4 x 100 vests...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This sounds like a pretty solid deal here. Pay more than most people's yearly salary for 16 days of glory!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

for 6 million yen? no thanks, I'll keep my money and just tell people I was in Japan

for 6 million yen, it depends whether you wanna spend that money on this or not. you don,t but trust me there,s alot of people that sure want.

but you made a very good point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Ganbare Japan!

Supply and demand economics assumes a natural growth in supply to meet demand in order to bring down cost. Japan has rigged the hotel and housing supply chain to favor the status quo and once again, the consumer will suffer.

It's cool, Japanese can live with inflated prices all they want but supply and demand is 'never' the reason for high cost for 'anything' in Japan, it's just not.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Your wonderful memories of sitting on the sofa and watching it on TV will fade a few days later. On the other hand, I've got my tickets, I'm ready to brave the heat and the crowds, and I can't wait. Life is what you make of it, and I've decided to have a blast.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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